By guest blogger Clyde Pickett
Student retention is a priority for higher education. We all have a responsibility to support retention efforts no matter our role or position.
To serve our students inclusively, we must commit ourselves to providing our students with outstanding service in every interaction they have with us.
In an article on academic advising, Ricky Boyd* provides some specific action steps to provide quality service to all students:
- Treat students with dignity and respect.
- Give students clear directions on how to solve their problems and issues, rather than giving them a run-around or sending them on a wild goose chase.
- Be responsive to students and their parents/families.
- Give timely answers to students’ questions and provide regular feedback on their progress.
Excellent service and communication should be the norm for all of our students no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like. Implementing these tips is a step towards advancing a positive campus climate and creating a culture to support retention.
As employees we must ask ourselves “what else can I do to support students in my interactions?” For some of us it might mean additional training on best practices. For others it might mean reviewing policy and procedural best practices to support front line service to students. Above all it means understanding we are here to serve their needs. The work of retention starts with us.
Clyde Pickett is the Chief Diversity Officer for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
*Boyd, R. L. (2012). Customer Service in Higher Education: Finding a Middle Ground. The Mentor, an Academic Advising Journal, 1. Retrieved from https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2012/06/customer-service-in-higher-education/
This is such a great reminder of how to serve our customers in this case being our students. It is so important to remember why we are in this field in the first place and if you are not enjoying it anymore a training in best practices can be a great place to start again. I know firsthand what it feels like to be searching for answers like a wild goose. All it took was one person that was familiar with all campus resources to guide me where to go. I was already frustrated and this one person took the time to sit me down and guide me in the right direction along with my family. That one person instilled in me the motivation to learn and be just like them. Retention really does start with us no matter what your position is!