Establishing a framework for transforming student engagement, success and retention in higher education institutions  (2012/2013)

(Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching Grant ID11-2056).

The perennial issues of student engagement, success and retention in higher education have attracted recent attention as teaching and learning funding performance measures are discussed.  The aim of this project was to develop and provide a holistic framework consisting of a series of sequential and increasingly sophisticated stages that will allow higher education institutions (HEIs) to manage and improve their student engagement and retention strategies/programs.

The framework and main project deliverable was a Maturity Model (MM) for Student Engagement, Success and Retention (SESR-MM), with case study exemplars. The project involved three Australian HEIs, with acknowledged experience and reputations in SESR activities, working cooperatively to develop and trial the project deliverables.

The SESR-MM has the potential to positively transform the holistic—academic, social and personal—engagement experiences of students in Australian universities by providing the sector with a mechanism for benchmarking and improving programs designed to enhance student experience

The research was originally led by Queensland University of Technology, with Griffith University and University of Queensland participating as team members.

OLT Link

Final Report 2014


Assessing student engagement, success and retention in regional higher education institutions (2014)

In 2014 the original project team was successful in attaining an extension grant to continue project activities.

The extension grant makes a distinctive contribution by creating a baseline SESR-MM for one regional university, the University of the Sunshine Coast, while simultaneously mentoring another regional university, James Cook University, to apply the framework to develop a JCU baseline SESR-MM. The extension project will produce three deliverables, consisting of two new baseline Institutional SESR Maturity Models, which will be disseminated in the form of Institutional Case Studies, and a ‘how-to’ guide that other institutions can use to conduct baseline SESR-MM assessments.


Project leaders: Professor Karen Nelson and Adjunct Professor John Clarke, QUT

For all inquries please contact the project manager Dr Ian Stoodley

Project website




Support for this activity has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views expressed in this activity do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.