Criminal Justice Student Retention: It’s Cool to Stay in School!

EQ_StudentRetention_NovDec_2010There are many reasons a student withdraws from class and even drops out of school. As a classroom instructor it is very disappointing when one of your learning partners withdraws from class. Building respectful scholarly relations is one way to help the student through a tough decision when they are struggling academically, financially, or have a personal crisis. Helping to remove roadblocks and making a personal plan for success with the student can make a difference.

Classroom Facilitator

By getting to know the learning partners in your class helps to identify at-risk students before they start to struggle. Providing extra resources and knowing what types of programs the institution has available is helpful to the students. Whether the student needs extra resources on college writing or could benefit from a peer-mentoring program the classroom professor is on the front lines of trying to help students become successful and reach their goal of earning a college degree.

dimensions-of-retention2First-generation students are especially at-risk as they learn to navigate the college culture, expectations, and rigors of college work. First-generation students often do not have a support system when they find themselves struggling. By taking the time to connect with your learning partners, the classroom facilitator can suggest strategies and resources to help the student successfully acclimate to college.

Working adults attending college for the first time after a break from any formal education will need assistance acclimating to the college rigors and expectations. This is an opportunity for the classroom facilitator to offer learning strategies to help the student build good study habits.

By taking the time to connect with the students you get a feeling for their goals and aspirations. Help the student define their goals within the criminal justice discipline and how the student envisions using their education to make a difference in their life and the lives of others.

Communicate Openly with your Learning Partners

Encouraging your students as they build their confidence. Remind the students that learning is a process and together you will help guide them to safe shores so that the student learns to become an independent self-guided learner.

Drop-out-ladderCheck-in with your students and let them know that you care, and willing to help guide the student. When a student feels that they are making a personal relationship with the classroom facilitator they feel confident to take a risk and challenge their own assumptions about learning new concepts. No student should feel isolated during the learning process. Start each class session on a positive note and let the students see your passion for the criminal justice discipline as well as for their success.

There are many variables and dynamics to student retention. Many are not in the control of the classroom facilitator; however, the things that we can control being in the teaching trenches is what we need to focus on to help students be successful and have an opportunity to help change their stars.What-Every-Student-Should-Know-About-Online-Student-Retention-300x242

Get involved and make a difference in a student’s success. What have you done for your learning partners today?

About the Author

Mark Bond

Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 33 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.