mentoring, financial support, academic support, psychosocial support, and professional opportunities (Grumbach et al., 2002; Rainey, 2001). Rainey (2001), noting that many such efforts are splintered and unsystematic, calls for coordinated efforts to address such factors as:

  • HPEI curriculum and pedagogy (e.g., switching emphasis from lecture-based teaching to more active learning approaches, such as small-group problem-based learning, and reducing the “boot camp mentality” operative during the first few months of a student’s medical school career);

  • Student orientation (e.g., by giving greater attention to helping students manage the fast-paced, content-rich curriculum through the teaching of specific study skills and learning strategies);

  • Financial aid (e.g., by providing consistency in financial aid, even if a student is required to repeat a year, to avoid placing greater pressures on students facing academic difficulty); and

  • Remedial strategies (e.g., by providing remedial services that are coordinated between student and academic affairs offices and keep the student in the academic environment, so that the student maintains contact with on-campus resources and faculty).

Observing that few institutions have adopted such a coordinated approach, Rainey notes:

Once a student experiences an academic failure that results in a projected delayed graduation date, there appears to be a cumulative effect that significantly increases the chances the student will never graduate. The student no longer has the support of friends and classmates. She has increased financial pressures. She believes that her failures are common knowledge…. Early identification of academic failure, swift and intense efforts to provide assistance by faculty and administration, making every effort to keep the student on schedule, and providing continuing and adequate financial aid are essential elements of a successful remediation strategy, especially for first- and second-year academic problems (Rainey, 2001, p. 352).

In developing and implementing student academic and social support programs, many HPEI administrators are often faced with the question of whether to target programs to URM and other students at risk for academic difficulties, or to provide remedial and support services to all students, regardless of background and prior levels of preparation. Rainey (2001) argues against the former approach, noting that “these strategies run the risk of stigmatizing the student doing poorly and of increasing his or her already high level of anxiety” (Rainey, 2001, p. 350). Instead, Rainey argues, HPEIs should provide comprehensive learning assistance support, make students and faculty aware of differences in learning styles, and find



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