Supporting your journey

Each institution’s journey is unique

Transformation is a continuous process where an institution considers multiple factors, reflects, and chooses action to address a student success challenge or inequity.

At a minimum, leveraging quantitative and qualitative data to analyze, identify, and track student success improvements is fundamental to transformation work.

This routine practice of reflection, prioritization, action, and measurement can be broken into a set of questions. This work – and addressing these questions – benefits from teamwork.  Ideally, the team is comprised of both faculty and staff from across the institution, inclusive of different functions and roles.  

Consider the sample questions here as a starting point, to be tailored by each institutional team.

  • What do the institution’s data illustrate about student experiences? Where are the areas of inequity in students’ experiences?
  • Which part of the students’ pathway should be prioritized for improvement? Are different students experiencing challenges at different places in their pathways? Which areas will the institution prioritize for improvement?
  • Which ‘solution’ is suited to address the prioritized area? How should the changes be implemented? How will success be measured?
  • How does the institution need to prepare to be ready to implement the changes?
  • Are all student pathways into and through the institution clear and sequential? Do they result in credentials of value? Which back-office capacities need to be strong so that the solution can be implemented to address inequities?
  • Do pathway alignment and capacity growth efforts need to happen first, to scaffold, support and sustain the solution?

Asking and addressing these questions with a team from the institution that represents a cross-functional set of perspectives, blending different academic disciplines, as well as a representative set of functions led by staff.  It is valuable to have representation from the areas of the institution noted in the definition and the framework, e.g. faculty from varied disciplines, finance, IR, IT, policy, etc.

Gathering qualitative and quantitative data to shape the team’s perspective about what to focus on is important. Quantitative student data that is disaggregated by race, ethnicity, income levels, and gender is key for analysis. Qualitative data from culture surveys, input from students, or other feedback loops with stakeholders are also important data to include and analyze.

You will likely need to collaborate with the institutional research (IR) function to source and render useful data sets for this work.

Preparing data, analyzing it with a group, and sharing reflections with diverse teams and representatives from across the institution are important for alignment and shared prioritization. The inclusion of current and past transformation initiatives in supports prioritization decisions, resource allocations, and scoping.

As the team identifies the areas that need improvement and are in the process of prioritizing, generating ideas for how to address and plan for the prioritized challenges will be important. To support brainstorming and planning, here are some prompting tools to consider.

Remember that there are examples of how other institutions have addressed similar challenges in the section of this website called Case Studies.

Planning for action requires gaining buy-in from many stakeholders to ensure momentum, progress, follow up, and take collective action. Here are some simple tools to boost your efforts in these areas.