Journal of Appreciative Education

Implementing Personalized Communication in Advising to Increase Retention of Doctoral Education Students

Landon Clark, Aarek Farmer


This research investigated the impact personalized communication between an advisor and advisee had on the (a) the advisor-advisee relationship and (b) student retention. This study is grounded in the Disarm phase of the Appreciative Advising Model (AAM), which encourages advisors to present a welcoming environment to advisees (Bloom et al., 2008). Pre- and post-survey data from the Mentorship Effectiveness Scale (Berk et al., 2005), as well as university retention data, were collected from 55 doctoral students over the duration of one spring semester to investigate feelings of safety and vulnerability during challenges experienced while progressing through a graduate education program. Although no significant differences in the advisor-advisee relationship were found between the experimental and control groups either before or after the implementation of personalized communication, student retention was significantly higher for the experimental group after personal communication was implemented by the advisor.


Appreciative Advising; advising; advisor-advisee relationship; personalized communication; student retention

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ISSN: 2165-5421