It is important to keep the campus community (faculty, staff, students, administrators) informed of the activities of the college retention committee. This can be accomplished in a number of ways such as:
Hold a retention workshop during faculty development and/or staff development day. Invite student leaders to participate.
Publish a college retention committee newsletter regularly. Make it available through the campus web site, intranet, e-mail it to the campus community, etc. Hold informational follow-up days open to the college community at convenient times so comments can be heard and recorded. Remember, the more people involved in the process the more buy in to the committee recommendations later on.
Include in the newsletter/e-mail:
As the retention committee progresses other information such as your definition of retention will emerge. Hopefully through the newsletter the college community will give thoughtful feedback and accept the definitions. Once you compare your retention/attrition rates with peer institutions published the results and elicited comments and feedback from the college community. It is important throughout the process to keep the campus community informed by using this feedback loop. Then as you move forward the campus community will be informed to the model you chose for your interventions, what you plan to do, who will do it, how you will evaluate it and modifications as necessary.
The key here is not to hide anything from the campus community. Believe me, they already know if the college has a retention issue, perceived or otherwise. It is best to get out the facts, acknowledge them and then move forward to address the issues. The college community will appreciate it as well as potential students and parents who will realize that the college takes the retention of students seriously. That just may be the best advertising/recruitment tool of all.
Let everyone know what you did!
Finally, be proud of your accomplishments. Present your results at local, state and national conferences. Also submit your results to a journal for publication consideration. Let the educational community know what you did, how you did it and the results that followed. Doing this will help other colleges as they strive to have their students also accomplish academic and personal goal completion.