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Academic Supports for First-Year Students and Impacts on Retention (E)

Stream: Supporting Teaching, Learning and Student Success

Targeting students in their first year with academic supports significantly impacts student persistence. To address the complex lives of differing student populations, Sheridan is committed to taking a more proactive approach to providing supports to students to increase student persistence and institutional retention. Join us to learn how we are reimagining the integration of academic support to help improve the first-year student experience and inform student persistence. Using a specific course example, the presentation will also include the steps taken to respond to a high-attrition rate course with very successful results.Nearly 2,000 students enroll in an applied computing and computer engineering course within the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering each year. Sadly, a staggering 35% of these students fail the course. Clearly, we have a problem. The Faculty of Applied Science and Technology and Sheridan’s Learning Services collaborated to respond. Students in this course with a grade below 60% were enrolled in a tutoring program and given the opportunity to re-learn course outcomes post-midterm. Participation in tutoring allowed students to re-write the mid-term exam. Outcomes from the pilot exceeded expectations, increasing the mid-term pass rate, historical pass rate, and subsequent course success. This initiative is a convincing example of the imperative to work across units to seamlessly create a successful student experience. Additional costs to this program are continuously outweighed by the benefits of retained revenue, improved student performance and satisfaction, student mental health, and faculty engagement outcomes.

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