Investigating business student engagement at an Australian university

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Efforts to address attrition rates in higher education have been driven by evidence of the importance of student engagement. This study focuses on engagement and attrition factors as they relate to business students from an Australian university that draws students of low social and economic status and with a range of language diversity, factors typically aligned with attrition. The results confirm that business students are, on average, less engaged with the university on key engagement and outcome scales than students from other Australian universities. The results were reinforced by contingency tests which showed that students were significantly more inclined to depart university if they were not satisfied. The tests also demonstrated that a business student’s relationship with administrative personnel was a key to their retention. Overall, the results of the study suggest that business students need to be engaged early and often, beginning with enrolment and orientation.

Keywords: engagement, attrition, higher education