Research Paper: Retention in Higher Education Evolution

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[. . .] Students from Under-represented Groups

Teaching methodologies play a significant role in underrepresented groups. Unbiased and transparent system adopted by teachers is commonly implemented in today's setup of institutes. They get a chance to get recognized and acknowledged. This not only develops their confidence but also motivates them to perform better. Thus retention is improved. Studies propose that retention of special populations may progress if faculty directs their genuine trust that all students are talented of learning (Flowers, 1998).

Organization of Program

Proper student counseling sessions, disability services and career advice are few integral measures that can positively affect retention. This gives confidence and security to student leading to commitment towards the institute.

Cultural Issues in Classrooms

With the advancement in education, many people shift to different cultures and cities for the sake of acquiring high quality education. In modern institutes, cultural issues are neglected; a friendly and professional work environment is promoted which in turn builds the confidence of the students. It gives them a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to adjust themselves in foreign land. Thus student's commitment and retention are improved (Fleming, 2012). Studies suggest that interaction between different cultures can have a positive influence on student retention (Wyckoff, 1998). Wyckoff is of the view that faculty can help as socializing agents and the increased interaction between different cultures can develop student's competence and help in retaining students.

Role of Presidency in Dealing with Retention

Presidency plays a significant role in any institute. According to the president of Michigan State University, a president must have wide variety of skills to cope up with the pace of the world while maintaining balance. He must be capable of dealing with emerging challenges. Education forms the bases of progress and in this rapidly evolving with time, keeping up with the pace of the world is a tough task in educational institutes. Thus, to cater these situations successfully, higher education leadership must be responsive, dynamic, unbiased and just towards their work ( Simon, 2009). They should have a progressive thought in order to evolve their system with the changing trends in teaching methodology. Thus the success of an institute greatly depends on the leaders. They should be efficient and intellectual individuals who have a progressive mind and deep insight of evolving academic trends.

Accepting the Change

Change usually disturbs an individual. Human beings usually react negatively and rebel when impelled to change. Accepting change basically requires letting go off how one thinks. It demands a sacrifice of our thoughts and ideas. Although these are the theories related to reaction of human beings towards a change but with this progressive and evolving world, sticking to orthodox approach and ideas can be harmful. We need to change ourselves in order to keep up with the world. Although change is hard to absorb but professionally, it is a requirement to flourish and prosper. Without change, human progress can be hindered. It is a well-known and acknowledged fact that education forms the bases of progress in everyone's life. But if education system is not exposed to changes and evolved, individuals following the obsolete educational trends will suffer heavy losses. It will result in a slump in their academic as well as professional career. Thus implying new measures and techniques is necessary for proper functioning of an educational institute. It will lead to satisfaction among students which in turn play a significant role in retaining students ( Simon, 2009).

Retention Strategies

A necessary measure that can be used to retain students is to apply academic as well as non-academic support to the students. Development such as social support to increase commitment, or combining tutoring with faculty-mentors and peer support can be helpful tact to deal with the situation. The basic step is to devise ways to identify students who are in need of help. The Pathways to College Network (2004) suggests progress of methods to recognize underprepared students early (precollege enrollment or within the first few weeks of the college year), to speed up their learning and to observe their progress over time. According to Tinto's Theory of Student Departure (1975, 1993) and Bean's Student Attrition Model (1980, 1985) theory, college retention is linked with present as well as past's academic performance. Precollege education influences student's commitment and academic goals and targets. A higher amount of addition into the social and academic environments backs to a greater amount of recognized goal commitment and therefore it would lower dropout and higher achievement rates. Several college surveys can be used to monitor students perception about the institute and once identified, students can be engaged into precise retention programs that emphasis on improving the negative factors expressed by the students.

According to University of Fraser Valley the following measures can be implemented to influence student retention:

Inspire high levels of faculty-student connections

Inspire peer interactions, peer mentoring contribution and input in institutional activities

Generate a student-centered campus setting that backs learning and boosts involvement

Make strong pathways and guarantee entering students know what to expect

Use dependable info to regulate where to put efforts on student success

Reasons Given by Students for Withdrawal

Several reasons given by students for their withdrawal from university are as follows (Scott, Shah, Grebennikov, & Singh, 2008):

Need a break from studies

Inability to balance work and study

Change of career goals

Found something better

Program did not meet the expectation

Stress because of studies

Course was not helpful to attain career goals

Unsatisfactory teaching methodology

This survey was conducted in University of Western Sydney and published in AAIR journal.


On the whole, student retention is an important aspect of any educational institute. Applying few measures as stated by different Universities, researchers and students themselves are necessary to avoid loss incurred due to inefficiency of retaining students. In this fast progressing world, evolving the institute is the fundamental step towards retaining a student. Any organization can only remain part of the race if it keeps up dating itself. Thus implying the above mentioned facts can be a helpful tool to retain students. Almost similar strategies are pointed out by experts and University authorities to help in solving this problem. The common perception about retaining the students from this research paper is to improve the system to enhance student commitment, association with the University and meet their expectations in order to retain students.


Bean, J.P. (1980). Dropouts and turnover: The synthesis and test of a causal model of student attrition. Research in Higher Education, 12(2), 155-187.

Bean, J.P. (1985). Interaction effects based on class level in an explanatory model of college student dropout syndrome. American Educational Research Journal, 22(1), 35-64.

Crosling, G., & Heagney, M. (2009). Improving Student Retention in Higher Education. Improving Teaching and Learning, 9-18.

Fleming, J. (2012). Enhancing Minority Student Retention and Academic Performance: What We Can Learn From Program Evolutions. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Flowers, J. (1998). Improving female enrollment in Tech Ed. The Technology Teacher, 58(2), 21-25.

Lotkowski, V.A., Robbins, S.B., & North, R.J. (2004). The Role of Academic and Non-Academic Factors in Improving College Retention. Washington: Act.

Pathways to College Network. (2004). A shared agenda: A leadership challenge to improve college access and success. Boston: Author.

Scott, G., Shah, M., Grebennikov, L., & Singh, H. (2008). Improving Student Retention: A University of Western Sydney Case Study. AAIR, 31-44.

Seidman, A. (2012). College Student Retention: Formula for Student Success. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Simon, L.A. (2009). The University President: Balancing Competing Demands. The Presidency, 2.

Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89-125.

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Retention in Higher Education Evolution.  (2013, January 24).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

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"Retention in Higher Education Evolution."  January 24, 2013.  Accessed August 20, 2019.