Where are we going?

Prioritizing transformational efforts

Context matters. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to transformation. The ways institutions pace and sequence their transformation depends on setting, structure, available resources, and leadership. Identify and evaluate initiatives and define needs and next steps.

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Here are some ways to prioritize your transformational efforts 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.

Realigning academic pathways at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Challenge

How might academic and career pathways be realigned so students can more easily sign up for courses and set a straight path to their credentialing goals?

The Strategy

Four-pronged approach:

  • redesigned and better aligned operations, processes, policies, and systems related to course registration
  • joined the American Association of Community College’s Pathways Project
    • followed a structured framework
    • mapped pathways to student end goals
    • helped students enter a pathway
    • kept students on a pathway
    • ensured students learned
  • hired a Career Pathways Coordinator to implement and scale initiative
  • coordinated with local high schools so students gained high school and college credit simultaneously
Outcome

The college developed more focused pathways to help students gain the necessary academic and career credentials to be successful post-college.

Learn more about credentialing pathways from our research

Institution

Launching a College Transition Center at Davidson County Community College

Challenge

How might we create a College Transition Center to improve student outcomes?

The Strategy

Six-pronged effort:

  • launched a College Transition Center to deliver developmental education at no direct cost to students
  • recruited former high school teachers skilled in instruction as faculty
  • designed center to encourage collaboration
  • enhanced student sense of leadership and confidence through peer-based instruction
  • invited students to participate in center messaging and promotion
  • implemented a proven, interactive computer software (Hawkes) to accompany curriculum
Outcome

The percentage of students who successfully completed developmental education courses increased from 2014-15 to 2015-16 from

  • 75% to ~90% in DMA 010 course (math)
  • ~50% to 87% in DMA 020 course (math)
  • 57% to 71% in DRE 096 course (reading)

Student performance in curriculum-level gateway courses improved, and 7 out of 7 students who participated in the center passed their gateway courses.

Learn more about developmental education from our research

Institution

Enrolling more online students at Sam Houston State University

Challenge

How might we get 5,000 online students by 2018?

The Strategy

Seven-pronged effort:

  • committed to the idea of no difference between degrees earned through online course delivery and degrees earned through traditional classroom courses
  • brought in online education expert to lead digital learning capacity, first as a consultant, then as the full-time director
  • improved staffing (70 online education professionals assisting 40 online programs)
  • supported development of online classes through courseware designers, a 24/7 help desk, and online-proctoring technology
  • leveraged revenue sharing and stipends to incent faculty to move courses online
  • incentivized academic departments with 50% of fees from online courses
  • offered $1,000 scholarships for completely online students
Outcome

97% of all graduating students have taken at least one online course; 50% of students now take an online course.

Learn more about pedagogy & digital learning from our research

Institution

Crowdsourcing ideas to accelerate online learning at Portland State University

Challenge

How might we improve student success by crowdsourcing ideas to accelerate online learning and better use innovative technology in educational delivery?

The Strategy

Three-pronged effort:

  • designed “Acceleration Challenge” to gather ideas for implementing strategic, high-impact clusters of online classes to enhance student success and time to degree
  • designed “Reframing Challenge” to gather ideas for leveraging technology to improve the quality and affordability of education in a short time frame
  • designed “Inspiration Challenge” to gather ideas for developing technology-based solutions to improve student success in an affordable way
Outcome

University earmarked $3 million for a Provost’s Challenge that generated 162 project proposals from more than 1,000 faculty, staff, and students; 24 projects were selected for one-time grants and were completed on-time and under budget by 2015.

Learn more about leadership & culture from our research

Institution

Becoming more strategic in resource allocation at Sinclair Community College

Challenge

How might we increase operations flexibility, leadership reserves to be more strategic in our resource allocation and financial operations?

The Strategy

Six-pronged effort:

  • facilitated decision-making at the lowest level to finalize budget
  • offered top-down guidance (e.g., allocated dollars to expense categories, provide guidance around tradeoffs)
  • allowed budget managers to see the full budget, enhanced decision-making for student success
  • brought department chairs together to discuss resource allocation
  • enhanced data-driven decision-making (e.g., invested in data warehousing to create capability to access data and to drive decisions)
  • explored alternative models as a way to enhance student success goals (e.g., performance-based budgeting)
Outcome

Sinclair’s high Financial Responsibility Composite Score, a 4.8 of 5.0 according to the Federal Department of Education, is driven by its responsible debt ratio, lack of debt and safe reserves.

Learn more about strategic finance from our research

Institution