This report studies how student retention is affected by learners' sense of social and academic integration.
This research focused on mature first year part-time and local students. Four key messages arose from this investigation: integration of the social and academic elements of university life is key to the integration of students into the school and wider university community; early imposition of structures upon students by staff appears effective in giving a sense of continuity and purpose; teams and groups working collaboratively on academic tasks enhance their social opportunities and integrating social and academic elements of university life encourage students to build relations with staff and each other as well as engaging with the curriculum.
The research findings showed that students found activities that combined social opportunities with an academic context as important in helping them to continue with their degree programmes. It also showed that students valued the integration focused activities evaluated in this research.