The Persistence Scholars Program is a unique, Northern Arizona University-specific faculty development experience that runs each semester. The focus of the program is supporting academic persistence, defined as students’ continued pursuit of their educational goals, through exploration of the research literature on this topic. It is particularly geared to coordinators and instructors who teach First Year Learning Initiative certified courses, but all Northern Arizona University faculty and staff are welcome to participate.
Academic persistence is a critically important issue within higher education, and fortunately, there is an extensive body of research about the factors that influence how and whether students persist. Out of all of these factors, those having to do with faculty – for example, high-quality pedagogy, appropriate feedback on academic work, and supportive communications – are far and away the most important.
The Persistence Scholars program was created as a way to support faculty in exploring research findings and effective practices relating to academic persistence among college students.
 Felten, P.F., Gardner, J.N., Schroeder, C.C., Lambert, L.M., Barefoot, B.O., & Hrabowski, F.A. (2016). The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
How to Join Accordion Closed
- Please send an email indicating interest to the Director, Cody Canning.
- All full-time faculty and staff at NAU, at all ranks, are eligible to participate
Benefits Accordion Closed
- Participants receive $150 in professional development funds on successful completion of the program
- For courses that are First Year Learning Initiative (FYLI) certified, coordinators can count participation toward recertification
- Participants will receive a free copy of the primary course reading (Completing College, by Vincent Tinto).
Approach Accordion Closed
- A one-day workshop is held on the NAU campus
- Approximately 8-9 weeks of online participation including readings, discussions, and brief assignments, designed to take no more than 2-3 hours per week to complete
- Additional optional face-to-face meetings, to be scheduled
Persistence Scholars participants say Accordion Closed
“I now understand how factors like support, giving clear expectations, and having students engaged in the material or topic promote academic success.”
“This program was extremely helpful to me. I have a better understanding of academic persistence and ways I can help students connect…All students want to succeed. It is important to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to assist them in achieving their goals.”
“Overall, completing the program has helped to give me some needed energy to try something new and really focus on helping students in my first-year classes succeed.”
“The program has helped me to be looking more consistently and in better-informed ways into kinds of support we can and should be offering our students in and out of the classroom.”
Please note that although Persistence Scholars does address how to support student persistence through teaching, it is not primarily about learning new teaching techniques or developing a teaching philosophy. Those interested in this type of professional development should seek out different opportunities through the Faculty Professional Development Program, such as the ACUE course.