Ohio State University has come up with an idea to increase retention. It is working to place faculty and others in the dorms for activities and just physical presence in the dorms to increase contact with students and to let them know that OSU does care about them. It is also providing participating students and faculty stipends for their involvement. Money is always a good incentive to get involved but other schools could do the more important mentoring and being with students at their own schools with great results.
I personally do not think that it is necessary to offer students a stipend to get mentored. Just the opportunity would draw in a huge number of students but money is even better than pizza which often works.The details of the approach which looks to be a great way to deliver even more customer service to students are available in Inside Higher Ed article Paid to Live on Campus.
Mentoring students has been shown to be a significantly good way to increase retention. It not only shows that the university cares but also provides an outlet for solving issues and getting extra help when needed where students live in the OSU example. The article makes OSU look like a deeply caring institution that wants to put student needs foremost in its mind. Unfortunately, it may not work out that way. As the article states:
...apparently not all faculty members are on board with the idea, either; one commenter on the Lantern article who identified as a faculty member criticized the administration as being “disconnected” from the university and trying to turn it into a “giant liberal arts college.”
“If I want to be promoted, or to create a national reputation for myself and my department, I can’t think of a worse use of my time than to babysit undergraduates in this fashion (most of whom wouldn’t welcome it in the first place),” the commenter wrote. “What an unbelievably stupid idea. The only faculty who will say yes to this are those who are not active scholars (i.e., people who shouldn’t be on the faculty in the first place).”