Student Retention Is A Priority For Public And Private Institutions Of Higher Education

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Student retention has become a priority in public and private institutions of higher education. Using student retention as a performance indicator has provided an increase in data reporting of overall university student retention as well as retention rates within academic programs. This data has shown a trend in decreasing retention rates among college music majors at many universities (Fitzpatrick, Henninger, & Taylor, 2014; Gavin, 2012). Recent studies attribute this decrease to career uncertainty and student burnout (Bernhard, 2005; Gavin, 2012; Orzel, 2010).
The lower retention rates not only present a problem to the department of music, but also to the students directly. Researchers are finding high rates of upper classmen music majors dropping out or changing their major (Bernhard, 2005; Brown & Alley, 1983; Gavin, 2012; Orzel, 2010). This often results in higher total tuition costs for the students and delays to degree and job attainment.
As strategies for increasing retention are being developed, more studies are being conducted to measure their impact. One such strategy is the implementation of faculty/student mentor programs, which are proving to be effective in other areas of study (Anderson, Dey, Gray, & Thomas, 1995; Campbell & Campbell, 1997; Coles & Blacknall, 2011; Swecker, Fifolt, & Searby, 2013). The implementation of a formal faculty mentor model within the department of music could prove to be a beneficial approach to reducing music major burnout, and
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