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The link between an academic library and student retention: a case study Ms Este Retief Dr Buhle Mbambo-Thata 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The link between an academic library and student retention: a case study Ms Este Retief Dr Buhle Mbambo-Thata 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The link between an academic library and student retention: a case study Ms Este Retief Dr Buhle Mbambo-Thata 2008

2 Bangor University considers removing librarians posted by Blake on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:30AM -753 hits Blake

3 "News from the University of Wales Bangor in the UK. senior management no longer feel that subject librarians / academic liaison librarians are needed in the modern academic library. They have made restructuring proposals which include removing all but one of the subject librarians and a tier of the library management, including the Head of Bibliographic Services. The university management thinks that technology has 'deskilled' literature searching. As far as I know, this proposal is unprecedented in the United Kingdom. In essence, there will remain 4 professional librarians serving a 'research-led' university of 8,000 plus FTEs and with 8 library sites. These will be the university librarian, cataloguing librarian, acquisitions librarian and Law librarian.

4 Contents The problem and its context Dropout rate and causes The need for retention Unisa Library’s Client Profile Study Research findings

5 The problem and its context Section 1

6 2008 HE Institutions in South Africa 23 public universities 92 private higher education institutions - 81 fully registered - 11 with provisional status Example:

7 Increasing pressure on HE institutions Meet social transformation Meet skills needs of the new South Africa Improve policies Increase demographic representation among graduates Improve academic performance

8 Increasing pressure on HE institutions Reduce demographic difference between student intake and graduate throughput Align demographic composition of tertiary teaching staff with that of tertiary learners Transparency Accountability Jaffer, Ng’ambi & Czerniewicz (2007)

9 Previous: Funding linked to the number of registered first year students Today: Funding linked to throughput

10 Key concepts Dropout: Refers to a student who drops out (withdraws from eg. University) before graduating – never return to studies Retention: The number of students who persist in their studies from one year to the next (

11 Academic success is closely linked to retention, persistence and graduation.

12 Dropout rate and causes Section 2

13 Higher education institutions specific mandate is to support education and academic success. Education Minister Naledi Pandor 28 March 2008

14 The Student Pathway Study Responsible: The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Sample: 34,000 students at 7 tertiary South African public universities Conducted in 2006 and 2007 20,000 (58,8%) of the students quit their courses Only 14,000 (41,2%) graduated after 5 years

15 National Student Financial Aid Scheme Provided loans to 531,442 students studying at higher education institutions in SA 178,375 dropped out 40% in first year 27% in second year 33% after third year of study Lindi Nhlumayo, scheme’s spokesperson, 2008

16 South Africa’s graduation rate of 15% is one of the lowest in the world, according to the National Plan for Higher Education (NPHE) compiled by the Department of Education in 2001.

17 The key reason for students dropping out of university is due to poor academic performance. This usually occurs within the first year of study, and the dropout rates are similar across all faculties. Prof Yunus Ballim, vice-chancellor of WITS, 2008

18 A report by the Department of Education found that tuition fees increased by 93% between 2000 and 2004, while over the same period allocations to NSFAS increased by just 48%.

19 Some reasons for dropout Lack of finances – come from low-income families: loans and bursaries do not cover the full costs of study Mostly first generation university students in their families Domestic problems Caring for a sick person at home Pregnancy

20 Some reasons for dropout –Under-prepared students from resource-poor environments –Battle with the academic load, having had little preparation at school –Poor career choices –Academic staff lack practical skills / strategies in assisting these students

21 Some reasons for dropout –Lack of research data and tracking system to identify ‘at risk’ students –Insufficient support and counselling services –No comprehensive retention strategy at institutional / faculty / departmental level

22 The need for retention Section 3

23 Dropout: everyone loses Time wasted Lost potential and productivity Quality of life & Self-esteem “College graduates also earn more money over a lifetime, incur fewer health problems, suffer less penal involvement, and live longer than non-college graduates.” (Seidman in Gaither 2005. Minority retention: What works?)

24 Financial loss for student and his/her family On average 70% of the families of the drop outs surveyed were extremely poor, with monthly household income of between R400 and R1 600. This rose to 82% for students from the University of Fort Hare.

25 The dropout rate is costing tax-payers a staggering R4,5 billion in lost grants and subsidies.

26 “ We can no longer afford to lose half our students at university to the drop-out pool and we can no longer afford to look at the number of unemployed graduates without alarm.” Minister Naledi Pandor in a speech to the BMF during October 2006 “The very low throughput rates of our universities are a serious cause of concern, because it appears as if institutions are happy to admit failure, but few devote deliberate attention to supporting and rewarding success.” Education Minister Naledi Pandor 28 March 2008

27 UNISA Library’s Client Profile Study 2007 Section 4

28 LibQual+TM, 2007 Feedback from library clients (valuable service quality information) Better understanding of library client expectations Benchmarking purposes – excellent BUT

29 It is not an assessment tool to capture the impact of the academic library on student retention.

30 StevenB (ACRLOG 2 Oct 2006): We need measures that will allow us to say something along the lines of: The library was responsible for a 10% increase in the number of students who persisted to graduation. -to-retention/

31 Surveying the literature on the role of libraries in student retention reveals that very little research has been done on this subject.

32 Kramer and Kramer’s 1968 study Statistically significant correlation between library use (borrowing of books) and retention among college freshmen at California State Polytechnic College, Pomona Of the students that used the library, 73.7% returned the next semester, while 57% of those not using the library returned.

33 Tinto’s (1975) model of student persistence/withdrawal Largely determined by student integration into the social and academic systems of the institutions The greater a student’s level of integration into these systems, the greater the commitment to the university and to the goal of graduation

34 1986 – Pascarella, Smart & Ethington “the personal relationships that students develop with faculty and staff are a potentially significant factor in their persistence/withdrawal behaviour”

35 Kelly (1995) Librarians act as teachers and counsellors – they are aware of deficiencies in student skills that may be indicative of high-risk students

36 Smalls (1987) Library “services can provide a diverse and personalised approach to meeting differences in information-processing capabilities and ability levels of students” Training programmes for students very important

37 Wilder (1990) Library employment as a strong incentive to academic success and student retention Rushing & Poole’s (2002) research confirmed the relationship between library work-study and retention

38 Examples: Project Mpumelelo Addressing students success and retention issues at the University of Johannesburg (2007) A variety of goals, e.g. initiating and building relationships between academic staff and students

39 University of Fort Hare The Sakha Ngethemba project forms part of the South Africa Norway Tertiary Education Development (SANTED) programme “It seeks to increase graduation rates through teaching and learning support programmes, tracking and monitoring student performances, and the development and implementation of specific student retention strategies.” R6m project to improve graduation rates among its students by at least six percent over the next three years.

40 UNISA Library Client Profile study Phase 1 (completed) Learn who are the students that use the UNISA Library [library users] (the demographic characteristics) Compare these students with those not using the UNISA Library [non-library users]

41 UNISA Library Client Profile Study Phase 2 (completed) Compare the number of library users cancelling their studies with the non- library users Compare the course registration pass rate of library users with the non-library users

42 UNISA Library Client Profile Study Phase 3 (in process) Postal and electronic survey: Library users vs. non-library users – home situation, computer access, library access and use, information literacy level and library needs

43 Some results of the study Phase 1 and 2 Section 5

44 UNISA Library Client Profile study 2007 registered UNISA students (formal studies) Total: 265,768 students Library clients include also those accessing library services through the web 27% of all students use the library services (71,383 students)

45 Keep in mind First year students (and some 2 nd years) do not need to use the library – study package all inclusive (certificate/diploma) Library use increase at higher levels of study Non-library users may be library users of other libraries such as public libraries

46 2008 Undergraduate Study Do you think the UNISA Library contribute to your academic success? 81% said yes Which 3 services do you consider as the most important: Lending/book requests (100%), study seating (82%), General Info Desk (25%)

47 It takes a whole village to educate a child. African proverb

48 It takes a whole university to educate a student.

49 Bangor University considers removing librarians posted by Blake on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:30AM -753 hits Blake

50 Any questions or comments? Buhle Mbambo-Thata Este Retief Tel: (012) 429-3131 Tel: (012) 429-3083

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