How do we get there?

Building buy-in and moving forward

While institutional leadership establishes a vision for student success, clearly communicating that vision and celebrating what works is crucial for gaining trust and understanding. Empower people, notably students, faculty, and staff, to collaborate on and contribute to an institution that makes everyone proud.

Get Started

Here are some ways to build buy-in and move forward at your institution. They are designed to be short, actionable activities to use throughout your transformation journey based on the specific challenge you’re tackling. Click on a card to explore its use.

What Others Are Doing

Looking for inspiration? Here are projects from a mix of two- and four-year postsecondary institutions working to better serve low-income and first-generation students and students of color.

Streamlining credentials and degrees at Sinclair Community College

Challenge

How might we make obtaining credentials and degrees more efficient, without compromising academic rigor?

Three-pronged effort:

  • worked with faculty and advisors to develop sequencing and design of courses for credential and degree requirements
  • streamlined 15-month associate degree options
  • launched pathways initiative, which included My Academic Plan (MAP), a software tool for students (alerts what courses to take and in what sequence)
Outcome

Sinclair launched a series of solutions, most notably a curriculum redesign focused on increasing the number of total degrees and credentials.

Learn more about credentialing pathways from our research

Institution

Developing a better advising model at San Jacinto College

Challenge

How might we develop an advising model that combines professional advisors with major-specific faculty support to deliver a streamlined, yet customized advising experience to students?

The Strategy

Ten-pronged effort:

  • located and managed professional advisors centrally (by campus)
  • organized advisers around student lifecycle (e.g., admissions advisors for new students; ed planning, counseling, and completion advisors for continuing students)
  • organized ed planners around academic or technical program
  • offered walk-in advising and pre-start advising for new students
  • integrated academic and student services (put advising office in same building as financial aid and other student services; advisors attended weekly Friday training sessions with other personnel)
  • required mandatory advising (for students at 0, 27, and 60 credit hours)
  • managed advising demand through system that placed holds on student accounts during non-peak advising times
  • implemented discipline-specific advising governance committees (faculty monitored advising quality, encouraged collaboration between advisors and faculty members)
  • developed annual planning and regular training sessions (focused on making the advising experience the same on all campuses)
  • initiated early alerts for developmental students
Outcome

Students can see an advisor on any campus and receive the same quality of advising. They experience limited, smooth “handoffs” from office-to-office due to cross-office collaboration, central location, and structure around student lifecycle. Faculty trust quality of advising, and students received the same messaging from both groups.

Learn more about advising from our research

Institution

Improving financial support for students at Northern Arizona University

Challenge

How might we offer students meaningful financial support?

The Strategy

Eight-pronged effort:

  • developed the Four-Year Tuition Pledge, which locks in one standard tuition rate for incoming students for up to four years from the time they start, incentivizing on-time completion
  • offered the Lumberjack Scholar Award, which covers up to 100% of tuition for eligible high-performing Arizona students
  • began delivering financial aid packages nine months before a student’s first semester
  • conducted “financial fit campaign,” in which advisers called students at risk for nonpayment
  • counseled first-year students on strategies to afford Northern Arizona (or to consider other options such as starting at a community college)
  • offered financial literacy courses online through Inceptia
  • offered a $500 scholarship to incentivize students to keep on a timely academic track
  • reviewed fees, with an eye to eliminate some entirely
Outcome

University now emphasizes “social, academic, and financial fit,” with financial aid office working closely with incoming students to counsel them even before they start.

Learn more about financial aid from our research

Institution

Leveraging communication and building culture at Indian River State College

Challenge

How might we communicate and build our culture?

The Strategy

Four-pronged effort:

  • addressed concerns or uncertainty directly
  • instituted a six-to-nine month inspirational leadership academy that all supervisors attended at least once
  • gained buy-in across campus, with a focus on faculty
  • delivered training and cross-training across departments
  • shared results through a mix of channels (e.g., individual meetings, departmental meetings)
Outcome

Indian River now has a strong foundation in change-management approaches; these robust practices allow for empowered shared governance.

Learn more about communications & engagement from our research

Institution

Fostering stakeholder alignment and buy-in at Portland State University

Challenge

How might stakeholders align on core principles and establish buy-in for transformation?

The Strategy

Eight-pronged effort:

  • shared core principles and established buy-in through feedback sessions, surveys, and town halls
  • offered candid reflections through provost’s blog
  • made progress transparent through student success initiatives posted online
  • implemented performance-based budgeting process to increase transparency around resource allocation
  • empowered leaders “to get stuff done” in service of academic innovation and student success
  • used data to identify gaps to inform prioritization of student success projects
  • looked to ideas from the “outside,” both from other campuses and other sectors
  • used design thinking as a way to incorporate student experiences
Outcome

A transformation journey enabled by a commitment to inclusivity and transparency, visionary leadership, new insights from data, and implementation capacity

Learn more about communications & engagement from our research

Institution