Investing in Student Engagement: Strategies and Best Practices for Higher Education Administrators

Ginelle Testa

Classrooms form the nucleus of academic learning, but the magic must also happen outside those four walls with Deans, Provosts, Vice Presidents, Directors, and more. This article explores the transformative power of student engagement, detailing how higher education administrators can spark that magic.

Authors of a study share that “Reasonably, one could suggest a possible feedback loop where increasing engagement increases academic performance, which in turn increases wellbeing (happiness and grades are correlated), which then increases engagement.” Engagement is a ripple effect that washes over the whole academic and personal experience. 

In this article, we’ll cover strategies for enhancing student engagement.

Strategies for Enhancing Student Engagement

1. Creating Clear Policies Supporting Engagement Initiatives

Administrators can influence the institutional climate, but first, they must define student engagement. What does it mean in the context of your university or college? By developing and implementing well-defined policies prioritizing student engagement, institutions send a clear message: student involvement is not just encouraged but expected. 

2. Investing in Technology and Tools that Promote Connectivity and Interaction

The digital age demands that institutions stay abreast of technological advancements. Leveraging platforms that promote online collaboration, virtual extracurricular activities, and hybrid learning can bridge the physical and virtual realms, fostering a holistic engagement experience. 

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3. Incorporating Engagement Metrics into Institutional Assessment and Strategic Planning

What gets measured gets managed. It’s crucial to embed engagement metrics into broader institutional assessments. Here are some ways to measure student engagement: attendance, attrition, graduation rates, continuation of selected major path, and end-of-course feedback.

4. Supporting Student-led Initiatives and Leadership Programs

When students take the lead, they're more invested. Administrators can cultivate a culture of proactive involvement by providing resources, mentorship, and platforms for student-led initiatives. Additionally, leadership programs can mold students into future leaders, ensuring the continuation of a culture of engagement.

5. Providing Opportunities for Students to Engage in Their Future Careers

Career readiness is essential, and 80% of students believe this is the most critical aspect of student success. Partnering with educators to connect with local businesses and create opportunities for work-study and internships can help a student’s experience. 

6. Recognizing and Rewarding Departments or Programs that Excel in Engagement Efforts

A little recognition goes a long way. Departments or programs that prioritize and excel in fostering student engagement should be highlighted and rewarded. This not only motivates them to continue their efforts but also sets a benchmark for others to aspire to.


The future of any educational institution lies in its students. By fostering engagement, we are not just enhancing the present but sculpting a brighter, more proactive future. From providing opportunities aligned with career goals to recognizing departments championing engagement, every strategy plays a role in molding our future leaders.

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