Management in Education: the time and space of student retention

The time and space of student retention
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This article was written by the columnist Rogério Moreira Scheidegger, student retention specialist and consultant Educational Prospecting.

How does retention occur in the space-time relationship? In this article we will analyze the retention of students in this perspective. How can we analyze retention in this way? This is what we will discuss next.

The Time of Retention: Expectations

In the relation time, if we draw a line that goes from the enrollment to the graduation, from the point of view of the student, we will find him going through several phases.

At first, we see the student in an expectation phase. They usually get to college filled with clear and strong expectations. The attendance or not of their wishes can mean demotivation with the course and the Higher Education Institution (IES) to the point of resolving to leave.
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In this sense, it is important to be careful not to sell what can not be delivered. Many institutions, in the desire to attract students, divulge exaggerations, which do not go through the evaluation of students.

Students already have a natural expectation when they enter higher education. They also have their personal expectations and those induced by IES marketing. The fulfillment of student expectations can be solved through research and improvement policy in processes, structure and resources.

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The Time of Retention: Experiences

Continuing on the student's time line in higher education, the student enters the phase of their educational experiences, which is the learning phase. The experiences of the students during their course can be divided into: classroom experiences and extra-class experiences.

The quality of classroom experiences will depend largely on the teacher's involvement, the type of methodology used, and the resources available. The student experience tends to be more interesting when he participates directly in some activity or project, when he is protagonist of his learning. In this way, it has the sense of accomplishment, which leads to more effective learning.

Participation in activities and projects outside the classroom, such as technical visits, field trips, practical classes, seminars, lectures, junior company and academic production leads the student to actively experience their learning. It is important that learning experiences are attuned to the current world and help the student in their professional preparation.

Educational experiences increase student engagement and consequently retention. Therefore, it is fundamental that the institution of higher education has a focus on student learning, providing to it through innovative methodologies opportunities to experience what it is learning.

The Time of Retention: Dreams

The third part of student preparation is building your career. The professional preparation of the student is a consequence of his / her learning experiences, fruit of the specific work that the institution does for its preparation and the work that it develops itself.

The IES can work with students to prepare for professional practice through lectures, vocational guidance, courses, mentoring, curriculum development and other activities. Through the institution the student can learn how to become an entrepreneur with lectures and courses on entrepreneurship, how to set up a business and how to put together a business plan

In addition, the IES can offer general guidance on how to set up career planning, support career development, and encourage the student to participate in professional and business meetings for networking.

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The Retention Space

In what environments of an HEI does student retention occur? Let's look at some industries to think about where and why retention happens. We can start by the gate, the first place of passage of someone who arrives at IES for the first time. In the concierge attendance occurs, because those who work in the sector can give a good day or tell the visitor that he is welcome.
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The doorman can be a source of small information of the type where the sector is located. No matter how small the retention aspects in this environment, it is important that the doorman or security is well oriented to provide good care.

A second environment that we can analyze is the IES Secretariat. We can say that there happens attendance, reception and information. The attendant can and should offer a coffee, ask the person to sit down and try to leave it at ease. This is reception. The information provided in this sector mainly during a registration process will be important to help in the adjustment of the entry. Under these conditions, we can conclude that the type of service and care provided by the Secretariat is important to help the student feel good in the institution where he enrolled.

Moving on to the living space, we can verify that there is where the student will spend their time relaxing after a few hours of classroom. The way the living space is constituted will define whether it contributes more or less to the strengthening of the student with HEI. The aspects of green area or plants, comfortable and quantity benches and a canteen with quality products and affordable prices will make a difference in this environment. Another important point for the space of coexistence is a relationship issue. Productive relations among students are important for social engagement, which is a key factor of retention.

Arriving at the Library, aspects of attendance, silence, availability of books and space for study make a difference in the evaluation of the student, in their satisfaction and contributes to their academic engagement, which is also another important factor of retention.

The Financial and the type of service and solutions provided in this sector end up defining the situation of continuity or not of many students. There we can take into account the aspects of service, flexibility of negotiation and offer of discounts and financing. Cases of monthly arrears with loss of discount; delay of more than one month in need of negotiation; and the impossibility of payment, when the student needs a student funding program are examples that how the financial sector can help or not in the continuation of the student.

Another significant location in relation to student retention is Coordination. It is in this sector that many problems of the students pass, either because they themselves look for the Coordinator or because the problems are referred by the teacher. The subjects are personal problems, grades, absences, friction with colleagues or teachers, complaints and others that may be grounds for circumvention. The way students are treated and how their problems are resolved makes a difference in their decision to stay or leave college.

We will not deal in this article with the main retention environment, which is the classroom. Being the main space, the classroom as a retention environment deserves a separate article mainly because of much of what one has to talk about the subject.


The locus of student retentionThis analysis of the retention of students under the focus of time and space leads us to conclude that practically all sectors of an IES are retention of students. It means that all sectors and employees, whether administrative or teaching, are responsible for retention, in a responsibility that must be shared. In a timeline evaluation, the focus is to work on the success of the student, meeting their expectations, reinforcing their experiences and helping them achieve their professionals.

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