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Reframing Retention Strategy for Institutional Improvement: New Directions for Higher Education, Number 161

ISBN: 978-1-118-64085-2
120 pages
April 2013, Jossey-Bass
Reframing Retention Strategy for Institutional Improvement: New Directions for Higher Education, Number 161 (1118640853) cover image


Take an in-depth look at the difficulty in gaining traction at the institutional level in improving student retention and degree completion rates—especially at larger four year institutions where size, complexity, and multiplicity of structures and processes present particular challenges.

This volume offers a way for institutional leaders to better focus their time, energy, and resources in their retention effort by framing the way they think about it using the 4 Ps of retention strategy: profile, progress, process, and promise. This simple framework challenges long-standing, traditional assumptions about student retention that can distract and dilute institutional efforts, and helps keep those efforts sharply and singularly focused on improving retention and degree completion outcomes.

This is the 161st volume of this Jossey-Bass series. Addressed to higher education decision makers on all kinds of campuses, New Directions for Higher Education provides timely information and authoritative advice about major issues and administrative problems confronting every institution.

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Table of Contents

David H. Kalsbeek

1. Framing Retention for Institutional Improvement: A 4 Ps Framework 5
David H. Kalsbeek
This chapter introduces a 4 Ps framework for student retention strategies—profile, progress, process, and promise. This framework provides a comprehensive approach to focusing retention research and strategies in ways that can improve institutional retention and completion rates.

2. Reframing Retention Strategy: A Focus on Profile 15
David H. Kalsbeek, Brian Zucker
The first "P" within a 4 Ps framework of student retention—profile—recognizes that an institution's retention and graduation rates are highly predictable, largely a function of the institutional and student profile, and are more a function of what the institution is rather than what it does.

3. Reframing Retention Strategy: A Focus on Progress 27
Brian Spittle
The second "P" within a 4 Ps framework of student retention—progress—focuses on ensuring that students are making satisfactory academic progress, rather than just persisting, toward degree completion.

4. Reframing Retention Strategy: A Focus on Process 39
Charles C. Schroeder
The third “P” within a 4 Ps framework of student retention—process—gives priority attention to institutional processes and policies that either help or hinder the continuous enrollment of all students, not just students defined as "at risk."

5. Reframing Retention Strategy: A Focus on Promise 49
David H. Kalsbeek
The fourth "P" within a 4 Ps framework of student retention—promise—connects retention strategies with institutional brand strategies so that marketing and retention become mutually reinforcing.

6. Profile in Action: Linking Admission and Retention 59
Carla M. Cortes
This chapter provides illustrations of a profile-oriented approach to retention through a discussion of test-optional policies and use of non-cognitive variables in the admission process.

7. Process and Progress in Action: Examples of What Works 71
Charles C. Schroeder
This chapter offers several principles and institutional examples of the ways that student-centered process- and progress-related improvements enhance students’ experiences and outcomes.

8. Promise in Action: Examples of Institutional Success 81
George D. Kuh
This chapter highlights institutional examples of intentional approaches to ensuring that every student’s experience re flects the promise of the institutional brand or mission as well as the distinct and differentiating nature of the institution’s educational philosophy and purpose.

9. Engaging Faculty in Retention: Finding Traction through Accreditation 91
Caryn Chaden
This chapter considers how addressing the essential role of faculty in an institution’s retention efforts can be enhanced by leveraging new accreditation requirements regarding retention and graduation outcomes.

10. The 4 Ps as a Guiding Perspective 101
David H. Kalsbeek
This chapter summarizes some of the themes that characterize a 4 Ps orientation to institutional retention strategy and offers an example of how one institution has used this approach to structure its retention efforts.


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