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Improving College Student Retention
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Table of Contents

1 IMPROVING COLLEGE STUDENT PERSISTENCE New Developments in Theory, Research, and Practice PART ONE: THEORIES AND MODELS 2 REIMAGINING STUDENT PERSISTENCE, RETENTION, AND SUCCESS An Exploration of New Theories and Models 3 A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THEORIES OF RETENTION AND PERSISTENCE FOR BLACK STUDENTS IN PREDOMINANTLY WHITE INSTITUTIONS 4 TOWARD A REVISION OF TWO EMPIRICALLY SUPPORTED THEORIES OF COLLEGE STUDENT PERSISTENCE PART TWO: RESEARCH 5 INVENTORYING THE ARTICLES ON STUDENT RETENTION PUBLISHED IN CORE HIGHER EDUCATION JOURNALS OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS 6 SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS AND COLLEGE STUDENT PERSISTENCE, RETENTION, AND GRADUATION 7 ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND STUDENT PERSISTENCE IN COLLEGE 8 ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? How College Environments, Programs, and Interactions Shape Student Retention, Persistence, and Graduation 9 STUDYING STUDENTS AS THEY SWIRL Methodological Challenges of Studying Student Retention in the Age of Student Mobility PART THREE: PRACTICE 10 CREATING AND SUSTAINING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE TO PROMOTE COLLEGE STUDENT PERSISTENCE IN NATURAL AND OPEN SYSTEMS 11 A TRANSLATION OF RESEARCH INTO ACTION? Toward a Pragmatic Conceptualization of Social Mechanisms in Retention Research and Practice 12 SHIFTING ENVIRONMENTS, EMERGING NORMS How Changes in Policy, Technology, Data, and Market Competition Affect Enrollment Management Processes 13 FORGING THE TWO-WAY PRACTITIONER–RESEARCHER LOOP FOR ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT An Examination of the Research and Communication Needs of Enrolment Managers 14 IMPROVING COLLEGE COMPLETION What Have We Learned About “Policy Levers”? 15 CHARTING FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR THEORY, RESEARCH, AND PRACTICE OF COLLEGE STUDENT PERSISTENCE

About the Author

John M. Braxton is a professor emeritus in the Higher Education, Education Leadership, and Policy Program, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He is also senior associate editor, Innovative Higher Education; a resident scholar, Tennessee Independent College and University Association; an affiliate scholar, USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice; and a coprincipal, Community College Practice-Research-Policy Exchange. Professor Braxton has two research programs, one of which centers on the construction and testing of theory pertaining to college and university student persistence. He has published numerous publications on this topic in the form of articles, book chapters, and books. Most notable among these publications is his 2014 book with William Doyle and others, Rethinking College Student Retention (Jossey-Bass). Professor Braxton is the recipient of two awards for outstanding contributions to knowledge that advance the understanding of higher education: the research Achievement Award bestowed by the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the Contribution to Knowledge Award given by the American College Personnel Association. He is also a past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. Robert D. Reason is professor of higher education and student affairs in the School of Education (SOE) at Iowa State University. He currently serves as the associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the College of Human Science. Prior to joining the faculty at Iowa State in 2011, Reason was on the faculty at Penn State University, where he was also a senior sci­entist in the Center for the Study of Higher Education. Reason studies how college and university policies, the campus climate, and students’ experiences in college interact to influence student outcomes. Along with persistence through college, his research has focused on student learning outcomes during the first year of college. He has written a widely used text with Kristen Renn, titled College Students in the United States: Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes (Stylus, 2021).

Reviews

"Throughout their distinguished careers Robert Reason and John Braxton have been two of the most astute and productive scholars working in the field of postsecondary education. In this edited volume they have gathered a superb list of authors who cogently examine contemporary developments in theory, research, and practice regarding college student retention. It is the best book I have read on this crucial topic in the last twenty years. I recommend it most enthusiastically."“As higher education institutions are seeking to improve retention rates, questions about how to retain students continue. In this book the editors seek to truly ask the “right questions” about retention theories and practices. Acknowledging that foundational theories did not properly encompass the diverse student experiences or institutional contexts present today, the authors focus on providing enhanced or new theories practitioners can use. This book moves beyond the theoretical to applying what is currently known in research to practice.”Vasti Torres, Ph.D., Professor and Executive Dean, School of Education, Indiana University - Bloomington“Higher education needs this book. The authors recognize that retention theories must be inclusive of today’s college students and the breadth of institutions in which they study. Not only do they review and revise theory, but the authors detail how college leaders have applied theory to improve institutional practice. For leaders looking for examples of how changes in organizational action improve student persistence, this book is required reading."Tricia Seifert, Dean and Professor, College of Education, Health & Human Development, Montana State University, and author of "How College Affects Students, Third Edition"“The comprehensive review provided by Reason and Braxton addresses some of the most important questions in higher education, from the relationship between research and practice to how mainstream theory and research have failed to adequately incorporate experiences of minoritized student populations. Crucially, in addition to providing a thoughtful description of existing research, the chapters in the volume offer a path for achieving a more vibrant, relevant, and holistic account of college student persistence. This volume, thus, is not only a great reference of the work to date but also an inspiration for the work that is yet to come.”Josipa Roksa, Professor of Sociology and Education, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, University of Virginia“Readers who take seriously the evidence and practical guidance offered in this extraordinary text have a real shot at actually improving college student retention and success. Reason and Braxton, two leading higher education scholars, have assembled an impressive cadre of experts. Together, they have gifted the field a high-quality resource that has the potential to benefit millions of collegians.”Shaun Harper, Clifford and Betty Allen Professor, University of Southern California

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