One of my responsibilities is to attend faculty meetings although I'm not supposed to say anything so I don't. At last week's meeting, we discussed retention for the umpteenth time and the need for greater student involvement. Most of our students have grandiose career goals, which they have no hope of achieving so I see their failure to re-enroll as coming into the light. It bugs me no end that we talk endlessly about retention yet no one can be bothered to survey the students who failed to re-enroll. We're probably talking about a hundred people. I'd be willing to call ten or even 20.
Someone suggested that incorporating more small group projects into one of the Intro courses
I teach will foster connections and improve retention. I think it's just as likely to annoy students who find themselves compensating for non-performers. Again, I'm not supposed to say anything because I'm the temporary help but this strikes me as a very amateurish approach to a complex problem. There's no attempt to investigate the reasons people aren't returning--lack of money, poor job prospects, dissatisfaction with classes, change of career direction--or come up with measurable solutions.
My sense is that the faculty doesn't want to address the problem; it wants to be seen as addressing the problem.