Scalable and Practical Teaching Practices Faculty Can Deploy to Increase Retention: A Faculty Cookbook for Increasing Student Success

Byron Hempel, Kasi Kiehlbaugh, Paul Blowers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Student retention in college is often expected to be handled by advisers, staff, and administrators. The university classroom—specifically, the pedagogies and practices that are utilized there—is a largely untapped resource in our quest to increase student success and retention. Instructional faculty are the only members of an academic institution that students are required to interact with regularly. For most courses offered in higher education, the contact time between faculty and students is typically three hours per week; faculty can have a significant impact on student outcomes in that time. This paper reviews and discusses scalable and practical teaching practices that span the domains of growth mindset, self-efficacy, metacognition, and belongingness. These teaching practices helped increase student retention by more than 30% in an entry-level core engineering course at our institution. The techniques described in this work can be deployed either simultaneously or in discrete sets to help students remain engaged in the educational process and successfully graduate. Because teaching is a universal practice, the teaching practices can be deployed in nearly every discipline and at every academic level. Most of the practices are independent of which instructional modes are being used, e.g., active learning vs lecturing, large vs small classes, or online vs in-person delivery. The specific implementation and effectiveness of the teaching practices may differ in each of those contexts, particularly with academic age of students, but improvements in student success and retention can be expected if the framework described here is used. We strongly recommend that a reflective process be deployed throughout implementation of the different teaching practices. This will allow for personal and professional growth in the instructor as they deploy the techniques while also improving the efficacy of the techniques themselves over time as they are refined for the local teaching environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-65
Number of pages21
JournalEducation for Chemical Engineers
Volume33
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • STEM Education
  • belongingness
  • growth mindset
  • metacognition
  • self-efficacy
  • teaching practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Education

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