Best Practices to Lower Attrition



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Purpose: Attrition is a problem that effects students personally and community colleges financially. With the community college persistence rates falling it necessitates an evaluation of the practices used to lower attrition. The purpose of this study is to explore the perspective of college deans regarding lowering the attrition rate in students at risk of failing in a health science discipline in community colleges in Texas. Research Methods: This descriptive qualitative study of 10 deans of health sciences in community colleges in Texas utilized a semi-structured interview process that was transcribed and coded to reveal emerging themes. Data analysis included transcribing interviews, coding, recoding, and forming themes. Findings: There were three themes that emerged from the study: faculty involvement, college/faculty resources, and student resources. There was a relationship between faculty involvement and college/faculty resources, which was student meetings. Having face-to-face meetings with students that are at high risk of failing, according to the deans, is an important practice to implement to reduce attrition. Implications: This study’s findings suggest that building a relationship with the at-risk student is increasingly important in reducing attrition. A deans’ ability to develop these practices with faculty will have far-reaching effects on the at-risk community college student.



deans, healthcare disciplines, attrition, communication, relationships, empirical study


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