A retention GSBI

We've talked about this very thing as a way to help retention at my university.  And I have to wonder if it would work better at a university since community colleges can still be perceived as grades 13 and 14 of high school.  As far as retention goes, I'm working on a theory that says any retention effort works a little bit some of the time, but nothing has a significant effect very often.  Anyway, Dean Dad describes a research based, good sounding, bad idea.

We treated a group of new students as a single cohort. They all took the same sections of every class together, and the instructors for the various sections coordinated assignments for maximum reinforcement. The idea was to bundle everything good into a package, and to see how successful we could get a given cohort to be. They got some of the best instructors, they had opportunities to bond with each other, and they even had special group exposure to various extracurriculars. In theory, they should have been super-integrated into the life of the college, what with all the bonding and suchlike, and their success and satisfaction rates should have gone through the roof.

They hated it. . . .

The college had taken for granted that anything that helped students succeed was good. If the research suggested that student bonding helps, then let’s encourage that. If the research suggested that linked courses were good, then let’s link everything. If some is good, then more must be better!

But the students themselves made a distinction between high school and college, holding the latter to a different standard. While some level of support may have been helpful, too much became infantilizing. They wanted some autonomy, even if that came at the risk of some level of distance. In fact, the distance was a bit of a selling point.

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