The retention of university students, particularly those from identified equity groups, has come into sharp focus in recent times given the proposed higher education reforms in Australia. This presentation reports the findings from two university funded pilot projects and a national priorities pool project funded by the Department of Education and Training demonstrating the potential of a more personalised approach to supporting students throughout the student journey. Drawing on Kalsbeek’s 4Ps Retention Framework and the extended 5Ps Framework proposed by Wood et al (2016), the presentation explores the strategies that can improve the transition, participation, retention and success of university students.
Through the lens of the 5Ps Framework, it is argued that improving student retention and success, requires: 1) engaging with prospective students prior to enrolment to help them to be better prepared for their transition into higher education; 2). ensuring that the promises made by the university through marketing and recruitment strategies are reflected in policies and procedures, the processes and the services available to support students, and match the reality of the student experience; 3). tailoring services to the profile of students, particularly those who are from low-SES backgrounds, located in regional locations, first-in-family, mature-aged and studying at a distance; 4). Ensuring university processes are designed to be usable and accessible to students from diverse backgrounds; and 5). Monitoring student progress in a proactive rather than reactive manner, and following up on students who fail to re-enrol.
The session includes opportunity to explore the strategies that can be implemented at the individual student and institutional level drawing on the three studies and a case study of the university wide implementation of the approach at CQ University.