Retention, Retention, Retention: Exploring Retention Solutions at a Private London University

Retention, Retention, Retention: Exploring Retention Solutions at a Private London University

Kate Armstrong (Regent's University London, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2998-9.ch012

Abstract

This case study is the result of a reconnoitre style approach to observation, analysis and subsequent planning. This approach comprised several (on-going) extensive informal interviews with staff across departments responsible for quality, administration, teaching and management. This has been supported with the analysis and observations of the University's staff and student culture, coupled with benchmarking these insights with other HEIs and current retention academic literature. Before presenting the case, it is necessary to ground the reader in current understanding of student retention in HEI's. The literature reviewed is drawn from both UK and international scholarship and following the presentation of current literature on student retention and the University's case study, further empirical review is integrated within the case study where appropriate, to contextualise, corroborate or reflect.
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Review Of The Literature Exploring Retention

Siedman (2012) asks why we should be concerned with retention and outlines several reasons why institutions need to care about student completion of academic and personal goals. The crux of Siedman’s reasons are paraphrased here to include: student development and financial reasons for both the University and the student; the development of critical thinking and ability to analyse skills; to engage in reflective and critical discourse; and ultimately to develop students who will be able to contribute to society. Retention moves beyond the acquisition of and matriculation of students and instead focuses on the preservation of each individual student’s retention from commencement through to completion and graduation. This chapter uses a London, UK, Alternative Provider University (APU) as a single institution case study. The study also uses existing literature on retention as a structure to frame and support the discussion and to outline and give context to the recommendations and retention interventions, strategies and tactics that proved successful in the case study.

Thomas, Hill, O’Mahony, and Yorke, (2017) wrote a report titled ‘What Works?’, which was developed as a means to understand the best strategies and approaches to helping students remain committed to their studies and to ultimately be successful graduates. Their report provides specific suggestions for institutions concerning the types of interventions and best practices that were most effective at the APU that was the subject of this case study and that might prove effective at other institutions and in other educational contexts. This study follows the same ‘what works’ approach and focuses on practical strategies, approaches and best practices to inform and then improve retention and student success across a range of academic institutions focused on making meaningful and thoughtful improvements to their retention rates. The review of the literature also gives insights and practical examples of a wide range of institutional approaches and specific interventions that have made a genuine difference to students’ retention and success. These external studies are integrated and reflected on throughout this chapter within the context of the case study.

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