The Final Report of the project is now available. Entitled “Enabling retention: processes and strategies for improving student retention in university-based enabling programs. Final Report 2013”, it was launched on 28 November 2013 at the inaugural conference of the National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) at the Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne campus.
The Report is available from the Resource Library of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching website (www.olt.gov.au).
The full Report covers the background to the project, the results of the study into the nature of student attrition in enabling programs – which turns out to be substantially different to that in undergraduate degree programs – and a discussion of what this means for strategies to enhance student retention including some specific suggestions for action.
This website is in the process of being updated. Substantial content will be added over the next few months, including a listing of all Australian university-based enabling programs, the questionnaires used in the surveys and a collection of suggestions for enhancing student retention.
We hope also to post a template to allow for submission of other ideas for enhancing retention and to invite our colleagues in enabling education to add to the collection. It is hoped that the website will be able to serve as a focal point for sharing and discussion around these issues.
As part of a combined process of consultation and dissemination, workshops presenting findings to that date of the study and allowing the opportunity for discussion of issues around student retention were held between November 2012 and June 2013. Workshops were held in Tasmania, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. The project team is very grateful for the opportunity to present our findings and share in the experience of workshop participants. Discussion was always lively and the process was very helpful in forming the final project Report.
Workshops were held at the University of Tasmania (Hobart, Launceston), University of NSW (Sydney), University of Newcastle (Newcastle), Edith Cowan University (Perth), Griffith University (Brisbane), University of the Sunshine Coast (Sippy Downs), University of Central Queensland (Bundaberg) and University of Southern Queensland (Toowoomba). Over 100 academics, teachers, support people and program leaders from over 30 Australian institutions involved in enabling education attended, including universities, TAFE colleges and government departments. Without exception, interest was high and the discussion was animated. Our thanks to our colleagues at those institutions who organised the workshops and to all who attended.
The process of presenting findings and sharing experiences with colleagues in the field was extremely valuable for the development of the project and began a process of collaboration which we hope will continue into the future. The project team thanks all those who took part and shared their extensive experience on student retention and attrition with us.
There is still the opportunity for further workshops to be run where there is interest in using the project findings to focus discussion of student retention with your colleagues. If you would like to discuss the possibility of hosting a workshop on student retention and attrition with a member of the project team, please contact Barry Hodges (Barry.Hodges@Newcastle.edu.au) or your regional team members [link as in current]. If you would be interested in participating in such a workshop but are not in a position to offer to host it, contact us as well and we will keep you in touch with any workshops in your area.
A mailing list has been compiled of workshop attendees and other interested colleagues. If you would like to be notified of updates to the website or other events of interest, just send the request to Barry Hodges (Barry.Hodges@Newcastle.edu.au). At the moment it is not an automated list but it is hoped to set up a list server later this year.