Linking Relationships to Retention | Origin: EL201

Although many factors influence student retention, the frequency and quality of interactions between students, faculty, and staff is one of the few variables institutions can control that has a significant and positive impact on student retention.

A working alliance is the professional relationship between students and institutional personnel, which involves the establishment of rapport, trust, and a mutual agreement about goals and action plans. Building strong working alliances with online students is fundamental to increasing positive student outcomes.


I learned how important it is for all staff to be involved in communication with the Student. As an instructor I make myself availble to my students almost 24/7. Some students have no home support and need that extra TLC support system. I would like to see more of the staff involved in calling students that sre struggling, so that as a group we are a strong support system for students.   


Student retention is about relationships between the faculty and staff and the learner.  It is about providing an adequate support network in which the student knows they are cared for and that employees of the institution genuinely care if they succeed or fail.  It is not just the job of the faculty, but of every employee at the institution to perform their duties in a way that reinforce a positive professional relationship with the learners in their care.

These posts have been very insightful.  Clearly, we, as online instructors, have our work cut out for us!  I agree with the statements made that students will remember long after class how an instructor made them feel.  This is a good take away.  I also agree with the person who discussed how students, regardless of class, always seem to fall into three categories; high achievers, middle of the road students and those who are clearly going to need extra support / guidance.  All three groups need to feel equally valued and appreciated.  Through building relationships, we can improve retention and their successes.

Learning about the importance of retention and working alliances. 

I've learned that the relationship among the staff is important for the students to witnessed as it shows a strong support system. Constant communication between the staff and the student increases the chance of them feeling they are a part of something bigger than them. It's also important for the student to feel welcomed by their peers, as this will build a support system within the classroom.

I was surprised to find out that retention is not a major focus in most colleges. I feel we can work on being more proactive with student retention.

It is important to build and maintain good rapport and relationships between students and faculty

Ongoing communication, genuine concern, empathy , positive regard helpful in student retention 


Retention studiesm need tobe replicated for online classes async. and sync. 


I think some of the blame needs to be taken by instructors/ faculty.  "Tenure" faculty in brick and mortar schools have a well deserved reputation for not responding to students.  If a student is lucky, a TA might respond.  In the reading it states that students are not consumers, but I beg to differ.  In what other field would someone pay thousands of dollars to be ignored?  Isn't your very job as an instructor to teach? Doesn't that mean answering questions? 

We are quick to blame the younger generation of students for not being "go getters" but in reality they are already burnt out by apathetic faculty.  They came from public schools where teachers were responsive and involved, I don't blame them.


Today's student for the most part have high levels of knowledge of technology. With guidance and instructions they learn easily how to nevigate through the online courses. Incorporating how to research topics in our class can provide the best evidence base knowledge to the subjects we are teaching. Students want to know that your care and that you are apporachable as an instructor. 

Students will face challenges and poblems, I tell my students that there is a solution to every problem so when we meet do not just come with a problem or challenges also be part of the solution. We work together to come up with a solution. If we allow the student to be part of the solution they take ownership and move forward knowing that they were heard and  allowed to be part of the solution.

Relationships are the foundation to retention and success for all parties involved.

Working alliances and positive helping relationships are natural in my field in person, but, as will all of the transition to online, take forethoght and more intentionality. It is much easier to maintain the sort of connection and availability through the use of shared physical space like office, classroom, and laboratotry, but will require more structure to survive in a remote environment.

Retention matters if a students feels connected to their environment and to the people in the instituion. Its important to monitor and track students who are not involved or just doing enough to get by to prevent any losses. 


Rentention can be as easy as helping students feel connected to their enviroment and community. Sometimes a deeper investigation needs to be done to see where the issues is at in order to save a student from failing. 


After going through this topic, i have learnt that i should be aware of my ability to portray different factors such as self-efficacy in order to improve my communication and retention. Work alliances are improved by the determination to learn more about other students and educators. 

Student retention can be reduced if more institutions invest in initiatives that promote preventive measures. 

As the on line program director, I model the way I wish the instructors to be with their students.


Linking relationships to retention, Tinto’s (1993) Student Integration Model asserts student dropout is driven by two primary issues, failure to find a social connection and failure to embrace values and norms of the institution. Raisman found students reported leaving because of issues with communication related to their "perception that the college doesn’t seem to care" and "dissatisfaction with service and treatment." A welcomeing campus climate communicating respect has been shown to be a driver of student retention. Schreiner reports student satisfaction with campus climate significantly improved a student’s odds of persisting, especially for first-year students. Developing a working alliance, a relationship including proactive, on-going point of contact responsive to student needs, between the professional and student making use of rapport, trust, and a mutual agreement about goals and action plans has been shown to improve student retention.