The Persistence Project
The Persistence Project is an ongoing research endeavor designed to increase student success and persistence at NECC. Built on a successful model from other community colleges, NECC embarked on a mission to increase students’ sense of belonging and persistence in the face of academic challenges. This project closely aligns with the Academic Master Plan and the Integrated Student Experience missions.
Beginning in the Fall 2018 semester, a cohort of volunteer faculty were asked to take specific steps designed to build connection with students in a course of their choice. These intentional practices included:
- Setting clear, high academic standards but removing policies that easily doom students. (flexibility on deadlines, not penalizing harshly for minor issues…
- Learning student names and having them learn one another’s names.
- Giving individual feedback on an assignment or quiz.
- Holding one 15 minute “get to know you” conference with every student.
- Acquainting students with academic centers, Student Success Hub, and other resources and opportunities at NECC
- Attending one event with students (a lecture outside of class, a sporting event, workshop, etc.)
- Contacting students who are struggling and offer help, assist in accessing resources, etc.
These intentional practices showed a positive trend in retention in its first (pilot) semester, which has led to more interest in the Persistence Project. The initiative will continue in the Fall 2019 with an increased faculty participation from 10 to 21 members.