Where do we start?

Igniting a Conversation

There’s no prescribed formula for initiating institutional change. However, starting a conversation among administrators, faculty, students, and leaders can be a good place to begin. Reflect on where your institution wants to go and where you are now. Seek common ground on what matters most and contemplate ways to encourage next-step conversations.

Get Started

Here are some ways to ignite a conversation around change 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, first-generation, and students of color.

Removing barriers to student success at San Jacinto College

Challenge

How might we extend the institutional goal of removing barriers to student success across the entire college?

The Strategy

Five-pronged effort:

  • revamped curriculum, pedagogy, student services, business operations, technology, marketing, and facilities
  • established leadership and design teams that involve faculty and staff from every academic department and administrative division
  • aligned program outcomes to industry standards
  • assembled industry advisory committees to meet annually to review curriculum, facilities and equipment, and achievement data
  • participated in both the AACC and Texas Pathways Initiatives
Outcome

College’s leadership is fully dedicated to the collaborative design and phased rollout of Academic and Career Pathways, designed to transform every area of the college.

Learn more about credentialing pathways from our research

Institution

  • System Affiliation

    N/A

  • ENROLLMENT

    28,326

  • PELL RECIPIENTS

    28%

  • STUDENTS OF COLOR

    73%

  • NET COST OF ATTENDANCE

    $7,677

Reimagining the first-year student experience at Sam Houston State University

Challenge

How might we reimagine a student’s first year as a three-year commitment to their credentialing success?

The Strategy

Ten-pronged effort:

  • redesigned Welcome Week and student orientation
  • developed a “before you start” to-do list for first-year students
  • held a spring orientation for first-time freshmen (FTF)
  • encouraged faculty to create an engaging plan for student’s first day
  • eliminated late registration to increase student participation in first-day activities
  • moved from a hybrid mix of faculty and professional advisors to a total professional advisor model
  • formed an interdivisional leadership team to review student experience quarterly
  • revised policies and procedures to streamline student experience
  • strengthened developmental math curriculum; recalibrated UNIV 1301 Student Success Course to increase student interest and enrollment
  • implemented Teaching Innovation Grants to incentivize faculty
Outcome

Shared goals for student success:

  • annual improvement in semester-to-semester and one-year retention rates
  • long-term improvement in both 4- and 6-year graduation rates
  • annual increases in total number of students engaging in high-impact practices
  • increase in student participation in Welcome Week
  • annual increase in total number of students using the co-curricular transcript
  • increased retention for FTF entering spring semester
  • increased student participation in learning communities

Learn more about student support from our research

Institution

Addressing needs of at-risk students at Sam Houston State University

Challenge

How might we better address the needs of first-generation students and students of color on their journey to graduation?

The Strategy

Six-pronged effort:

  • launched Academic Success Center to provide tutoring, supplemental instruction, and summer bridge programs for low-income, first-generation students, and students of color
  • developed FORWARD Program, a support system to empower former foster youth, orphans, wards of the court, and homeless students
  • developed TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) for first-generation students with financial and academic needs
  • developed a First Generation Learning Community
  • developed ELITE (Establishing Leadership In and Through Education) to increase retention and graduation rates for minority males through academic support, peer mentoring, community service, and outreach
  • established STEM Center focused on first-generation students and students of color
Outcome

The university is now nationally recognized for graduating first-generation students and students of color and has established multiple support networks and resource centers for these students

Learn more about student support from our research

Institution

Using research and data to improve student success at Delaware State University

Challenge

How might we use research and data to inform operational and strategic efforts to improve student success?

The Strategy

Seven-pronged effort:

  • partnered institutional research (IR) with faculty and academic leadership
  • employed a cross-functional team together to provide different perspectives
  • expanded the role of data at the university to beyond external reporting and compliance
  • developed a framework to analyze data for a new initiative, I5O (e.g., what is the issue, information, insights, solution, implementation, and outcome)
  • used predictive analytics to identify student re-enrollment behaviors
  • leveraged data to address questions regarding student academic performance, enrollment, retention, housing, tuition waivers, and scholarships
  • implemented data dashboards so campus leaders can better gauge student performance and progress
Outcome

Now Enrollment Management and IR analyze pre-registration data and share progress through a dashboard that can be viewed by deans and the university’s president. In the last three years, the pre-registration rate has increased by 13%. The university can predict which students will re-enroll in any college or university with about 88% accuracy and 97% accuracy for those who will remain at Delaware State.

Learn more about institutional research & data from our research

Institution

Using predictive analytics for at-risk students at University of North Carolina

Challenge

How might we invest in a robust predictive analytics system that maximizes support for our highest need students?

The Strategy

Three-pronged effort:

  • developed a predictive analytics model to determine likelihood of student attrition and success based on academic, economic, and social factors
  • developed a tool to first identify students likely to struggle academically; then deployed relevant data in decision-making (e.g., advisors could auto-enroll incoming students in a student success course)
  • offered at-risk/high-need students support (e.g., TRIO Student Support Services and Frontier Set Summer Bridge program)
Outcome

The Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management developed UNC Greensboro’s predictive analytics model using Rapid Insight. Key success indicators for a new first-time, first-degree cohort include high school performance, hours and types of credits enrolled, declared major, times between key dates, family involvement, as well as parent/guardian academic experience, geographic location, and affordability. The model places students into deciles 1-10, and staff uses this information to reach out to at-risk students (deciles 1-4) with specialized support services.

Learn more about institutional research & data from our research

Institution