The Impact of Faculty and Institutional Characteristics on First-Year Student Retention
Higher education institutions are critical constituents in providing an opportunity for students to equip themselves with the knowledge and education necessary to be important members of society. Students also acquire the essential proficiency and soft skills necessary to begin careers conducive to the continued development of their nation. Acquiring the knowledge and ability needed to gain future skills integral to potential undertakings lies with students remaining enrolled at a higher education institution and earning academic degrees. The topic of retention is at the forefront of literature in the higher education community, with the leaders of many institutions incorporating models to increase retention (Oseguera & Rhee, 2009; Rohr, 2013; Tinto, 2006).
Faculty and institutional characteristics play integral roles in postsecondary atmosphere affecting student retention. Various supports should be provided to assist students to remain enrolled through graduation. In this quantitative ex post facto study, researchers compared students’ intent to persist to the next academic year based on faculty and institutional characteristics, using randomly selected archival data collected from 7115 first-year students in multiple ground based four-year institutions. The findings based on chi-squared tests indicated that differences existed for students’ intent to persist to the next academic year based on their levels of satisfaction with faculty, first-year programs, and availability of campus social activities. Substantial differences were also found for students’ intent to persist to the next academic year based on their feelings of isolation from college campus life, viewing themselves as part of college campus community, perceptions of faculty interest in academic problems, and the amount of emotional support received from faculty.
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