Retention Review

Retention has been at the forefront of Trent’s focus in the past year. This focus on retention has lead to the creation of a Retention Committee, the Rebound Program and most recently to the undertaking of a Retention Review.

The retention review, conducted by external reviewer and Vice President Student Affairs at Laurier University, David McMurray in conjunction with Professor Gillian Balfour from Trent’s sociology department and Tara Harrington from the University Secretariat, aims to identify recommendations on how to improve retention at Trent University.

“Trent’s retention rate is not as high as it could be,” noted Nona Robinson, Associate Vice President at the Office of Student Affairs.

The reasons for this are varied. The review aims to narrow down the reasons that students may choose to leave Trent, and provide focused solutions to them and suggest specific programs.

McMurray visited campus on Feb. 29 and March 1, where he met with student leaders, representatives from college cabinets, the TCSA and the TBSA.

In addition, he met with college heads, some faculty, student services staff, senior administrators and members of the Retention Committee.

Alumni affairs, the Board of Governors, Trent Durham, the First Peoples House of Learning and the Trent International Program were also included in McMurray’s brief visit to campus.

McMurray also received information from academic and student service united, retention data and institutional research on the subject to inform his review.

The Retention Review will focus on various aspects that relate to retention. The review guidelines focus on institutional aspects, teaching and learning, enrolment management, student engagement and support, research and assessment and career development and services.

Because of its wide scope, the review demonstrates that retention is a complex issue that concerns all facets of university life.

The retention review is particularly focusing on how students define student success.

Alaine Spiwak, who sits on the Retention Committee, noted that this question allows for additional student issues to be highlighted. As a result, she responded the question with a clear statement that student success is correlated to having student voices heard. In addition, student success spans success in academics, engagement with the student community and a sense of belonging to Trent University.

Contrary to the Internationalization Review and the Traill College Review, the Retention Review has been more open to student voices.

Although McMurray did meet with the Retention Committee and student leaders, the process was not open for all Trent University students, who may be affected, to have a voice.

Spiwak, president of the Trent Central Student Association noted that because the series of reviews (Internationalization and Traill College) that Trent has recently undergone have the potential to impact policy and drive change that will shape the future of the university, it is important for student voices to be heard and for students to push for the issues that are most relevant to them.

If you have any input related to any of the reviews being conducted at Trent, email