Who needs to be involved?

Assembling and aligning a team

Transformation work in higher education, as elsewhere, requires a dedicated team of diverse individuals who represent the breadth and depth of an institution. Engage and empower full teams — from senior executives to students, staff, and faculty — to offer a diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.

Get Started

Here are a few ways to assemble and align a team 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.

Supporting at-risk students at Delaware State University

Challenge

How might we better support at-risk students’ transition from high school to college?

The Strategy

Two-pronged effort:

  • immersed first-year students in a six-week summer academic development learning community that included free textbooks and traditional student services, such as academic advising, tutoring, and peer mentoring
  • designed a new-student orientation
Outcome

Project Success (PS) launched as an intensive academic program for provisionally admitted students (i.e., those slightly below the university’s admission standards).

Learn more about developmental education from our research

Institution

Creating career communities at Sinclair Community College

Challenge

How might we reorganize academic and support services around “career communities” to help students understand, access, and pursue pathways leading to career opportunities in the community?

The Strategy

Two-pronged effort:

  • launched career communities to provide students with targeted support based on their program of study
  • included business leaders on advisory boards for the career communities
Outcome

Career communities helped establish stronger connections among students, despite Sinclair being a commuter campus. Communities have also contributed to greater faculty interaction and collaboration.

Learn more about career support from our research

Institution

Engaging faculty in the first-year experience at Northern Arizona University

Challenge

How might we develop an innovative first-year experience that engages faculty in building academic success early on in students’ careers through pedagogically driven course programs?

The Strategy

Four-pronged effort:

  • developed a set of first- and second-year courses based on research-based pedagogy and customized to different student segments
  • trained faculty through 3 to 5 course-redesign sessions that addressed academic socialization, course design, and section alignment
  • certified courses that met first-year student needs (e.g., academic learning and academic socialization practices)
  • subsidized teacher’s assistant (TA) for certified course
Outcome

University established FYLI, an office that leads the certification process, which enables curriculum consistency and quality, despite changes in lecturers and faculty. Over 90% of first-year students are enrolled in at least one FYLI course.

Learn more about pedagogy & digital learning from our research

Institution

Recasting the role of department chair at San Jacinto College

Challenge

How might we redesign the role of department chair to create greater accountability and leadership?

The Strategy

Seven-pronged effort:

  • redesigned role of department chair to be a permanent position with no teaching load during fall or spring semesters
  • recast chair’s primary responsibilities to include classroom observation, teaching evaluation, professional development, participation in major initiatives, and strategic departmental planning
  • increased compensation for role to reflect the enhanced expectations
  • conducted leadership development for chairs
  • gave department chairs access to multiple data points, including historical performance data and customized reports from IR, as well as an end-of-course survey
  • developed institution-wide student learning outcomes to promote standard key performance indicators by which to evaluate faculty
  • developed Annual Department Chair & Dean Academy in which faculty leadership reflects on previous year and plans for the coming year
Outcome

The college permanently appointed department chairs, relieving them of teaching and extending their contracts to 12 month, thus enabling them to focus on faculty development and departmental leadership and strategy.

Learn more about student-focused operating model from our research

Institution

Increasing institutional support at Sinclair Community College

Challenge

How might we increase institutional support by enhancing college’s profile in the community and with foundations?

The Strategy

Six-pronged effort:

  • focused on college’s financial responsibility and sustainability
  • led meaningful engagement with community to bolster support for county levies
  • built relationships with other educational institutions
  • appointed leaders to champion student success agenda
  • focused on high school partnerships and support to minimize the need for developmental education
  • developed process to inform board and community leaders about institution’s student success track record
Outcome

College president oversaw overall student success strategy and prioritized initiatives, as well as led development of fiscal culture to retire all debt.

Learn more about leadership & culture from our research

Institution

Engaging the board through strong leadership at Sinclair Community College

Challenge

How might our two-year college more actively work with our board?

The Strategy

Five-pronged effort:

  • participated in national student success collaboratives
  • committed to both student learning and academic quality
  • took ownership of student outcomes
  • supported policies promoting student success and organizational efficiency
  • hired strong leaders
Outcome

The college participated in and championed student success initiatives.

Learn more about leadership & culture from our research

Institution

Developing an Early College High School program at San Jacinto College

Challenge

How might we better support our local K-12 system by developing an early college high school that allows students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree?

The Strategy

Seven-pronged effort:

  • developed a long-term path for developing an Early College High School (ECHS) program
  • located seven of the eight ECHS on the college’s campuses
  • partnered with local school districts
  • embedded eight San Jacinto College advisors in high schools during school year
  • let advisors help high school seniors enroll in college, select courses, apply for financial aid, take placement tests, and interpret test scores
  • encouraged students to complete advanced high school course work in addition to college-level courses
  • offered discounted San Jacinto College tuition for students participating in an ECHS
Outcome

In addition to discounted dual-credit programs, San Jacinto College now supports the K-12 system through sustained investments in four ECSHs and shared educational advisors.

Learn more about strategic partnerships from our research

Institution