Professor of Psychology
Saint Mary's University
Using co-curricular content integrated into core courses to increase student grades, success, and retention
Student transitions are hard. In addition to the academic challenges, there are social and academic skills-based challenges students must overcome. In this session I will present our experimental research investigating the effectiveness of integrating co-curricular student success skill development into first-year core required courses. I will describe the unique elements of “standard” versus “bespoke” approaches and describe the differences in effectiveness. Further, I will show how this approach has been used effectively across our core first-year science courses, our required intro to business course, and how we are planning to implement it in the intro psychology program. I will also provide data demonstrating increased mid-term and final grades, and increased retention rates year over year.
Steve Smith is a Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. He has previously held the roles of Associate Vice-President Academic & Enrolment Management, Dean of Science, and Registrar, all at SMU. Steve’s Tri-Council, provincial, and industry-funded research covers a broad range of topics, including forensic psychology, bias against people with criminal records, particularly Black and Indigenous applicants, student success, health promotion, EDIA issues, and others.
Steve has an extensive history of working in and developing effective partnerships, internal to the university, with provincial and national partners, and with industry and government. He also has a long history with Science Atlantic, including serving as the psychology lead for SMU for three years and as an Institutional Representative for more than eight years. Steve has served as Acting Treasurer of Science Atlantic since May of 2023. Currently, Steve is a co-supervisor of a MITACS business strategy internship project with Science Atlantic to build an interactive user interface for the organization’s web presence and student awards management.