Student Engagement is the Answer

 In Best Practices, CSM, Student Engagement

A Consultant’s Perspective: Student Engagement is the Answer

Student engagement is widely viewed as one of the keys to addressing problems such as low achievement, employability, alienation and high dropout rates. Engaged students are more likely to perform well on standardized tests and are less likely to drop out of school. Research indicates that student engagement declines with student progression from upper elementary grades to middle school, reaching its lowest levels in high school and university. Research also estimates that, by high school, 40 to 60 percent of youth are disengaged. Given the serious consequences of disengagement, more and more educators and university administrators are interested in obtaining data on student engagement and disengagement for needs assessment, diagnosis, and preventive measures.

During the strategic consulting discovery sessions conducted here at Symplicity, consultants often find that student retention is a key concern for larger universities and many of these institutions have a set of measures and practices in place to encourage students to engage with the institution. Many of these practices, however, fail to achieve their set objectives, while the methods or metrics in which student engagement is measured are outdated, involve manual processes and are not aligned with the institutions organizational vision and goals. Engaging students in their first year of university is critical to student retention and sets the tone for the remainder of their educational career as well as their long-term relationship with the institution. Several departments ought to have a student engagement plan that may involve both curricular and extra-curricular practices.

As consultants at Symplicity, we understand that there is a huge potential for improvement in current student engagement practices and the first step is identifying the institutions high level goals and existing engagement practices before recommending taking specific actions through a comprehensive study that looks at the key actors and process within a student services center.  CSM, Access and UniHub are all technological solutions designed to foster, measure and encourage student engagement over time. Through some of our most successful implementations around the world, we have seen that institutions where students are highly engaged typically results from an overall culture of engagement in place. At these institutions, students are seen as partners and their contribution is valued. In addition to this, students are given the necessary tools and support they need to succeed.

A student engagement tailored strategic consulting service typically sees interactions with representatives of the following departments:

  • Program Management
  • Faculty
  • Career Services
  • Student Services & Well being
  • Student Unions

We conduct this type of service using a student engagement framework of effective practices. Our reviews then result to a set of recommendations for improving student engagement across the institution and leveraging the capabilities of tools and resources to achieve the desired high-level goals. If you would like to learn more about Symplicity products or our strategic consulting services, schedule a conversation with us.

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