Gregson, Nicholas P. and Caldwell, Elizabeth F. (2010) From application to graduation: A cross-institutional approach to student retention and success. In: Retention Convention: What works? Student Retention and Success, 3-4 March 2010, Higher Education Academy. (Unpublished)

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The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) is the 8th largest university in the UK and has been at the forefront of widening participation, recruiting a high percentage of non-traditional students. The university has adopted a new strategy for retention and student support and has seen an improvement in continuation rates from 83.3% in 2002-3 to 85.1% in 2007-8. The strategy has involved adopting a cross institutional approach to retention which incorporates the provision of accessible management information, commitment from students and specialist support. In particular, four central initiatives have provided a holistic and integrated approach to student transitions: Flying Start eases the transition to university life, WISER supports academic development, M&M provides a peer mentoring service and Fresh Start engages and supports students who have left study. Additionally, a central student information centre, known as the ‘i’, acts as a one-stop-shop for guidance and support. This integrated approach allows for cross-referrals between services and greater engagement from academic staff and students. Recent developments have seen an increased embedding of the projects with collaborative approaches to curriculum design and cross-participation of students in multiple initiatives.

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