Strategies to help individual students

Research has demonstrated that positive student-faculty interactions play a significant role in student satisfaction and student retention. This page describes some of the strategies that individual faculty can engage in to impact student retention: through advising, teaching, and one-on-one relationships with students.

Improve retention through advising

Explore REST’s advising resourcesLearn about types of advising models you can use with your advisees, how to prepare yourself and your advisee for a meeting, topics to cover during meetings and how to ask and answer difficult questions. The resources also contain practical tools and resources to help your advisees navigate difficulties and improve their performance. 

Connect with the A-Deans in your School each semester to stay abreast of changes to policy and practice: Having accurate answers to student questions gives students confidence in your abilities as a faculty advisor and eliminates the “run-around” when students are given misinformation or are pointed in the wrong direction. Being aware of policies and practices surrounding S/D/F, add/drop, audit, Over 18, and Withdraw deadlines can save students time and money and contribute to students’ on-time graduation. 

Invite your advisees to meet with you at strategic points during the semester: Invitations can be extended during the first three weeks, just after midterms, before course registration. 

Ask your School’s A-Dean for a list of advisees who are on academic warning: Seek to connect with struggling advisees more often during the semester and know the requirements for getting back into Good Standing.

Let your department know about engaged and high-performing advisees: These may be students who should be considered for enrichment opportunities or encouraged to pursue awards. 

Improve retention through teaching

Explore faculty development opportunities with the Center for Faculty ExcellenceThe CFE provides resources and training to help you develop inclusive teaching practices and other techniques to help you support your students, including programs for new and early-career faculty and workshops and fellowships for more experienced faculty.

Find an experienced faculty mentor whose teaching has been recognized: Talk with a recipient of a faculty excellence award, a Dana Teaching Fellow,  a Senior Fellow, or participate in another mentoring program through the CFE.

Explore new teaching technologies: The CFE’s Faculty Hub and IT’s Learning and Innovative Technologies program can help you identify technologies that you can use to strengthen your teaching practices and support student success. 

Seek feedback from your department: Experienced colleagues in your department or program are valuable resources for  strategies for supporting students. You can also set up a Mutual Mentoring Program to create a support network within your department—or among several departments.

Improve retention through one-to-one relationships with students

Use office hours and advising appointments: Ask about students’ extra-curricular interests, social engagement, athletic participation. Take an interest in the things students are involved in outside of the classroom. 

 Take in a student event: Find events in which your students are participating and use a personal note to let them know you attended. 

Familiarize yourself with IC ResourcesFollow up expressions of concern with connections to appropriate resources such as CAPS, Hammond Health, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Center for Health Promotion, the Ithaca College Food Pantry, the Center for IDEAS, the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services, among others. 

In 1:1 conversations with students you know well:

  • Communicate the talent and potential you see.
  • Encourage involvement in a specific, connected task/opportunity.
  • Thank them for their contribution