In a 2006 report George Kuh wrote, "Institutional characteristics have few if any direct effects on measures of student success." That was more than a decade ago. Today's universities have methods of engagement not available during the Kuh study. Today, institutions can employ strategies based on technologically-mediated data collection in the search for higher retention and persistence.
The very first strategy may be to discern whether the student is in the right place and the right degree. Career Color Tests have been found fairly reliable in determining the "right fit". The people at apply the Career Color Test, and then help students find a college housing their degree program. As administrators, this may be a good tool to use during open houses. With so many students searching for their purpose, why not be the one to help them find it? If we enroll them, and they discover their passion in their sophomore year, but we don't have their degree program, who loses? Everyone.
So, let's say the student knows what they want to do, and they are now part of our university. How do we engage them?
Even at the time of Kuh's research, on-campus residence was seen as positively associated with student engagement. On-campus residency increases the availability to peers, faculty, and advisers. Add targeted residences to this, housing together students of the same family of degree programs, and we create residential learning communities. Go one step further by adding tutoring centers among the dormitories and we increase opportunities for student success. When planning new or remodeled campus housing, keep in mind the size of distinct families of programs and space for student academic success services.
Many of today's universities have adopted standardized programs to increase engagement outside of the classroom. First-year experiences, orientations, peer tutoring, summer bridge programs, student skill success workshops, faculty office hours, and peer mentoring are just a few of the many attempts to bridge the gap between the student and the institution. These programs are easily researched and benchmarked through the internet and so, we won't recount them here (unless your request them through our Contact button) .
This page is focused on methods of technological outreach colleges and universities might choose to uses in their quest for student-institutional integration. We don't endorse any products, but intend only to providing them some daylight for your consideration. Let us know if you are using any of these tools by joining our free forum.
There are no better places to start talking about engagement than the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. These links take you the home pages, where the latest study results are available:
is a mobile app that promises to keep students engaged from orientation to graduation. The platform hosts events, campus channels, student group reminders, calendarized agenda, important institutional resources, and a chat function.
If you'd like to personalize an app for your campus, provides a market of apps from which to to choose. MODO claims to quickly integrate your data and deploy your customized app, saving ITS resources and project time.
GUIDED PATHWAYS: Community colleges are invaluable resources that provide low-cost, high-quality education. Serving traditional, adult, at-risk, and first-generation learners, the American community college system offers everything from automotive mechanics to associate degrees in zoological studies. Trending since 2015 is the concept of Guided Pathways. In “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges”, Bailey, Jaggars, and Jenkins (2015) outlined cultural changes to accelerate student success. Tips on Guided Pathways are available from the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement.
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Kuh, G.D., Kinzie, J., & Bukley, J.A. (2006). What matters to student success: A review of the literature. Retrieved from