Defining the Faculty Role in Student Success

Building ownership for student progression among individual faculty and distributed academic units

Sixteen best practices to engage faculty in student success initiatives, both as individuals and through collective departments and committees.

No one unit, office, or individual can "own" student success efforts, but without engagement from faculty, top-down initiatives are doomed to failure. Faculty-student interaction is key to student success.

This study will help you clarify how faculty and academic units can support campus-wide student success initiatives. Download the complete publication or explore the table of contents below to discover 16 best practices for engaging faculty members and academic units in student success initiatives.



An organizational dilemma—who owns student success?

No one unit, office, or individual can truly “own” student retention and completion, given the incredible complexity of students’ experiences on campus. Meaningful improvements in retention and graduation rates require extensive coordination among a number of stakeholders. Without engagement among faculty, however, most top-down success initiatives will achieve only limited reach. While most academic leaders support including faculty, it can be difficult to determine exactly the role faculty members and academic units need to play.

Engage faculty early on

Academic units, committees, and task forces can bring faculty together in project-focused groups to identify, investigate, and solve retention issues.

The most important responsibility of each individual faculty member is to enhance the student learning experience. But faculty can also leverage early warning systems to help identify at-risk students, and build mentoring relationships with students who may be on track academically but who are not engaged on campus.

Accountability and evaluation: Keys to ensuring momentum

Assessments of student success initiatives often fail to capture department-level performance, even though significant aspects of student success activities occur within academic departments. This lack of accountability means that individual units are never motivated to improve. Regular assessments, shared best practices, and concrete outcomes help ensure that student success remains a priority in academic departments.

The 16 best practices in the remainder of this study will help you involve faculty early in student success initiatives in order to increase your initiative reach and outcomes.

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