This retention exercise, created by John Gardner and Betsy Barefoot, was designed to highlight a retention strategy in relation to the transition to college and to help students persist in the first year.
Assign students to select one of their course instructors and schedule an interview. Encourage students to work in pairs or teams. Provide guidelines for students, such as the following:
- How to schedule an interview appointment
- The importance of being on time for the interview
- Appropriate questions to ask, such as how and when the instructor developed an interest in teaching, where the instructor went to undergraduate and graduate school, and what the instructor likes most or least about teaching
Ask students to give a short (5- to 10-minute) oral presentation in class or write a short report about their interviews. Send a brief e-mail or written “thank you” to instructors whom your students interviewed. Let them know that you designed this assignment to help your first-year students learn more about instructors and become more comfortable with them out of class.