1st Edition

Teaching for Retention Strategies to Ignite Student Success in Higher Education

By Bruce M. Mackh Copyright 2025
    240 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides actionable insights and strategies to help address the student retention problem that has plagued Higher Education.

    Designed for faculty, this book reframes the common question, “Why do students leave and how can we fix it?” to “What if we made sure that every student had a compelling reason to stay?” Drawing upon the Gallup-Purdue “Big Six,” – six key experiences in undergraduate education that influence graduates’ well-being – Teaching for Retention outlines incremental action steps and strategies that every faculty member can implement on their own, without seeking administrative approval or waiting for institutional initiatives.

    This exciting book is designed for any faculty member who wants to increase students’ engagement in learning and motivation, and ultimately support students in completing their degree programs successfully.

    Support material includes workshop facilitator notes, lesson plan, presentation slides, and participant workbook. These materials are available at www.routledge.com/9781032811833


    First, an Apology

    1. Understanding 21st-Century Teaching

    Teaching for Retention

    The Big Six

    Higher Education Today

    21st Century Educator Skills and Competencies

    The Learnings

    Meeting Students Where They Are

    2. Generating Excitement for Learning

    Core Assumptions

    Inspiring Excitement for Learning

    Strategies for Active Learning

    Eight Key Elements

    Distracted, Reluctant, or Non-Responsive Students

    3. Caring for Students as People

    Look to Your Left, Look to Your Right

    Not What, but Who and How

    Faculty Immediacy

    Warm Demander

    Unreasonable Caring

    4. Mentoring for Retention

    Roots of Mentoring

    Toward Mentoring

    Strategies for Mentoring

    Mentoring Special Populations

    Mentoring Students in Crisis

    The Case for Mentoring

    5. Providing Opportunities to Work on Long-Term Projects

    Defining Long-Term Projects

    HIPs Connection

    Engagement Beyond the Classroom

    Toward Long-Term Projects

    6. Incorporating Authentic Experiences

    College-Career Connections

    Pathways to Achievement

    Experiential Education

    Keeping Our Promises

    7. Engaging Students Beyond the Classroom

    Moving Beyond the Classroom   

    Theories of Student Persistence

    Strategies for Student Engagement

    Benefits of Student Engagement

    Facilitating Student Engagement

    Just Two Things

    8. Questioning Assumptions

    The Trope of the Uncaring Professor

    Weed-Out Courses

    Analyzing Assumptions

    In Plain Sight

    9. Designing for Student Success

    Quality Matters and Comprehensive Instructional Design

    Designing for Student Success

    10. Transforming Roadblocks into Stepping Stones

    Why Students Leave

    Financial Hardships

    Institutional Frustrations

    Personal Difficulties

    Instructional and Academic Challenges

    Social Disconnection

    Compassion and Responsibility




    How to Write Objectives and Outcomes

    How to Create a Course Map

    How to Create a Career Pathway Map

    How to Create a Program Map


    Bruce M. Mackh is the Vice Provost for Assessment and Chief Accreditation Officer at Wright State University in Dayton, USA. He is an experienced educator, academic administrator, and scholar of art and design, higher education, and teaching and learning.