Faculty Role in Student Retention

Top 10 Things Faculty Can Do to Increase Retention

1. Learn and use students’ names

  • use the picture roll in Banner to learn students’ names
  • encourage students to post a picture on Canvas
  • call roll and try to match names and faces
  • greet students by name as they enter
  • call on students by name to answer questions
  • give back papers by calling out their names
  • each day, learn one or two students’ names as they draw your attention (large class)
  • use name plates
  • use ice breaker activities early in the semester to learn names

2. Encourage class attendance

  • take roll, especially during the first three weeks of class
  • make attendance or class participation a part of the grade
  • use graded in-class activities
  • text, e-mail, or call students who have missed class
  • require students to meet with you if they miss the first day of class
  • use Starfish to report students who are not attending class

3. Interact with students as individuals

  • use a survey the first day of class to find out about each student
  • encourage students to see you for help during office hours
  • make a consistent effort to be in your office during office hours
  • make appointments to meet with students in your office one or more times during the semester
  • require students to pick up assignments or exams in your office
  • select one student each class period to talk with after class
  • as students come to your office, discuss their lives and academic goals, not just grades
  • work with a student on a specific project
  • create assignments that allow students to apply personal, family, or cultural perspectives
  • give students partial credit back for bringing quizzes to your office and explaining the correct answer

4. Encourage students to interact with each other

  • use small group assignments or activities
  • encourage or organize out-of-class study groups
  • establish a buddy system for absences, missed assignments, etc.
  • have students read each other’s papers before turning them in

5. Build Class Rapport

  • be the first to arrive and the last to leave the classroom
  • add a picture of yourself to e-mails and Canvas front page
  • share relevant, appropriate personal experiences
  • share your struggles and successes
  • encourage and praise student efforts, not just achievements
  • don’t let the lectern become a barrier to your interaction with students
  • when asking a question, pause long enough to allow time for a response
  • make eye contact during class
  • listen carefully to student comments; rephrase to indicate understanding

6. Use Engaging Teaching Methods

  • use online discussions
  • introduce a topic by presenting a problem to be solved
  • use relevant examples from current events in the media or your discipline
  • use activities that require higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills
  • use collaborative learning strategies (think-pair-share, etc)
  • use videos that are short, engaging, and up to date

7. Teach Learning Strategies

  • discuss amount of time needed to be successful
  • discuss study strategies which would be appropriate for your class or discipline
  • give suggestions for improvement as well as a grade
  • provide examples of well written assignments
  • use review time to engage students in active learning techniques
  • build sequential assignments that divide a large task into smaller parts
  • allow graded assignments to be resubmitted if they are not satisfactory

8. Provide Other Academic Support

  • use Canvas to make grades and course materials available
  • encourage students to use campus resources such as the Writing Center and Tutoring Center

9. Obtain and Use Student Feedback

  • use in-class assessment techniques
  • do a mid-year feedback survey
  • place a suggestion box outside your office
  • comment on how changes to your current course reflect suggestions from previous students
  • review and evaluate comments on course evaluations

10. Interact with Students Beyond Your Class

  • be a club advisor
  • attend university functions at which students are present (Undergraduate Research Conference, theatre productions, athletic events, etc); let students know you will be there

“Research has shown that faculty and their interaction with students are key to student retention. When we actively engage students in the learning process and create a climate of support, they are more likely to persist and earn a UT degree. We know that the “Utah Tech Spirit” is alive and well and is conveyed by many faculty and staff to students on a daily basis. As a campus I know that we can continue to improve, and I endorse the recommendations on this web page. They are research-based and have shown to positively impact student retention. Thank you for your dedication and the important work that you do in educating our students and preparing them for successful lives and careers.

-President Biff Williams