Retention & Student Success

Student Success - What Faculty Members Can Do

Recommended Article: Every Student Can Learn - If... by Arthur Chickering (2006)

What students do in college matters as much as anything else in terms of their educational success. Educationally effective colleges and universities - those that add value to the student experience - intentionally craft policies and practices that channel students' energy to the activities that matter to learning... An essential ingrediant is an unwavering, widespread commitment to enhancing students learning on the part of faculty members (Kinzie, 2005, p. 1).

While a number of scholarly works suggest ways for faculty to further support student success, Jillian Kinzie's article "Promoting Student Success: What Faculty Members Can Do" provides one of the most succinct pieces on the topic. Drawn from in-depth examination of 20 diverse four-year colleges and universities that have higher-than-predicted graduation rates, Kinzie points to 9 practices faculty can employ to support the aspirations of students.

  1. Embrace undergraduates and their learning - employ engaging pedagogies and use pedagogical approaches that address the learning needs of students who are less prepared to succeed.

  2. Set and maintain high expectations for student performance - standards for achievement should be consistent with students' academic preparation and designed to stretch students beyond what they think they can achieve; holding students to high standards is a source of both motivation and accomplishment.

  3. Clarify what students need to do to succeed - students benefit when instructors supply examples of what successful students do to perform well in their courses or for a given learning activity.

  4. Use engaging pedagogical approaches appropriate for course objectives and students' abilities and learning styles - students learn more through deep involvement in their education and when they are provided opportunities to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings.

  5. Build on students' knowledge, abilities and talents - recognize and integrate the diverse backgrounds and knowledge of students.

  6. Provide meaningful feedback to students - formative assessment and prompt feedback are vital to helping students maximize their learning.

  7. Weave diversity into the curriculum including out-of-class assignments - based on national NSSE data, students who report more exposure to diverse perspectives in their classes are also more likely to report higher levels of academic challenge, greater opportunities for active and collaborative learning, and a more supportive campus environment.

  8. Make time for students - there is no substitute for human contact whether in-person or via email.

  9. Hold students accountable for taking their share of the responsibility for their learning - academic experiences need to be organized in ways that demand significant student commitment and accountability.

Interested in learning more about student success? Review What Matters to Student Success: A Review of the Literature (Kuh et al., 2006) or visit our Articles and Documents webpage.

Kinzie, J. (2005). Promoting student success: What faculty members can do (Occasional Paper No. 6). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.
Professor Pastor
For additional information, contact
Mary Keenan
Coordinator, UMD Student Success Initiatives
420 Darland Administration Building