Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #445
Using OBM to Increase Student Retention in Higher Education
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
201 (CC)
Area: OBM
Keyword(s): Retention
Chair: Douglas Robertson (Florida International University)
Shaping Organizational Systems and Individual Behavior at a Large Metropolitan Research University
Domain: Service Delivery
DOUGLAS ROBERTSON (Florida International University), Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Abstract: Retention and on-time graduation have become key metrics for various university constituents and are now typically an important part of performance-based funding and institutional rating systems. Supporting undergraduate student success is not only the right thing to do, but it has become critical to universities' base budgets, particularly public universities. This paper presents a discussion of a national award winning, university-wide set of systemic interventions, called the Graduation Success Initiative (GSI). The GSI transforms the administration of the undergraduate curriculum and reorients the university toward undergraduate student success at a large, public metropolitan, research university in Miami, Florida (Florida International University; enrollment, 55,000, fifth largest in the United States). The GSIs systemic interventions are complex and extensive and have produced a 12 point increase in on-time graduation in its first 3 years, a spectacular turnaround from the institutions historical low to its historical high. The GSIs interventions and effects cannot be presented adequately in a single paper, and we are presenting a series of papers that focus on different organizational elements in the complex set of interventions. In previous papers, we have concentrated on systems of reinforcing contingencies that shape the behavior of individual students and of executive leadership (presidents, provosts, deans, assistant deans). In this paper, we concentrate on another key systemic element in the interventions--the advisors. In addition, we summarize GSIs Phase II that focuses on point four of GSIs simple, scalable, and replicable four-point framework: (a) help students to identify an appropriate goal, early; (b) provide a clear path to that goal; (c) give immediate feedback whether on or off that path; and (d) remove barriers and add supports on that path. We will briefly address the next GSI challenge of shaping the teaching behavior of faculty in 17 high-enrollment, high-failure, high-impact gateway courses that produce over 41,000 enrollments and represent a significant barrier in the students path toward their goalon-time graduation in their appropriate major.
Complex Systems in Higher Education
Domain: Theory
LARS INGE HALVORSEN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Ingunn Sandaker (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sc)
Abstract: Abstract Higher education today faces several challenges, one of them is retention. 45-67 percent of bachelor students currently attending the average higher education institutions in Norway and the USA finish their education within a 5 year period (SSB, 2013; ACT, formerly American College Testing, 2014). Complex systems theory may help solve some of the challenges these institutions face today. Examining the different processes in higher education we can start to explore where the challenges lie, this seen in the light of the increasing complexity of society. One way to explore this is by demonstrating how selection of academic behavior may increase as a function of the interplay between basic leaning principles and increasing the possible number of interactions in the classroom. By doing this our findings indicate an increase in performance, interaction and quality in the educational setting and at the same time creating a social environment that strengthens the bonds between students.
Keyword(s): Retention



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh