Webinar: Driving Retention & Student Engagement During Uncertain Times

We recently held a webinar with Dr. William “Bill” Hudson Jr., VP for Student Affairs at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Dr. Jamie Davis, Director of Academic Support Services at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, to discuss how FAMU partnered with Knack to implement a student success initiative that substantially increased retention, facilitated student engagement, and fostered employability — one that continued to run virtually without interruption from COVID-19.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for what turned out to be a great conversation!

For those who couldn’t make it, here are a few of the highlights…

Webinar Highlights

Knack CEO Samyr Qureshi kicked things off by introducing the nexus of student success.

The Nexus of Student Success - Knack

It’s really important to tie together these three components, which marry the work of academic affairs and student affairs. This is the middle ground between Dr. Davis’s work and Dr. Hudson’s work.

Dr. Hudson spoke about FAMU’s partnership with Knack, highlighting a few of the positive outcomes we were able to achieve together.

With Jamie and I working together, you’re getting the best of both worlds. From the academic side and the student affairs side, we can actually evaluate the success of students in particular courses, so we did see a decrease in the student failure rate of certain courses based upon participation in Knack and our other tutorial services.

Dr. Davis spoke about how Knack was able to help recruit, onboard, and train tutors for courses that they previously weren’t able to cover.

It’s important to note that Knack was able to assist us in some of the courses we don’t have tutors for. So, instead of hiring a tutor and allocating money for that tutor, we could go through Knack and that really helped us out.

Dr. Hudson then spoke about how tutoring is a great way to bolster experiential employment for students.

FAMU Experiential Employment Webinar Slide

Data has shown that students who work on campus 20 hours a week tend to do better as opposed to students who are working off campus. So it keeps them on campus for their employment, but also provides them the necessary skills to improve their resumes.

Samyr followed this up by discussing how peer tutoring could become the next High-Impact Practice.

I mentioned how Dr. George Kuh is involved in Knack from a High-Impact Practices standpoint and this is really the crux of it. Can we allow peer tutoring job opportunities to serve as a way for students to reinforce subject matter knowledge, build valuable experience for their resumes, and develop those career skills?

Dr. Hudson went on to highlight a few creative ways to find budget for supplemental peer tutoring.

Finding Budget for Tutoring Webinar Slide

There are avenues for you to get funding to support this program on your campus, but you may be able to split some of this cost by partnering with academic affairs or student affairs as well. There are a lot of opportunities for funding, specifically for a program like Knack.

Samyr expanded on the issue of funding, doubling down on our commitment to helping schools in need during COVID-19.

As an organization, we understand that campuses are in a tough position.. Can we help a campus right now, can we show the value so that it is really easy to go back later and say, hey provost, hey academic affairs, hey president, look what this did — can we get some budget to keep it going?

The three panelists closed things out with some Q&A from attendees. After that, Samyr shared some final thoughts.

Lets Chat Webinar Slide

I really appreciate everyone’s commitment to student success here. When we think about the future of learning, there are a lot of unknowns… But, at the end of the day, everything is focused on teaching and learning — students should be directly involved in that to double down on success for the long term.

Overall, this hour-long conversation was a great examination of how campuses can look to effectively supplement existing tutoring services to help more students. If you’d like to check out the full webinar, you can access it below.

Watch the Full Webinar

Enter your email to view the full webinar, which was originally recorded on May 14th, 2020.