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What does student success mean in higher ed today?

Highlights and outcomes of the #UBsuccess Twitter chat
University Business, December 2014
Has your institution implemented an innovative student success initiative that reaches across campus departments and is getting results? Apply to be recognized by University Business' Model of Excellence.
Has your institution implemented an innovative student success initiative that reaches across campus departments and is getting results? Apply to be recognized by University Business' Model of Excellence.

The go-to data point used to indicate whether an institution is helping students reach success has tended to be its graduation rate. Post-graduation employment is another indicator that colleges and universities will note for ROI-focused students and families.

While these signs of success aren’t going anywhere, the definition of student success has evolved to include many more areas.

On Oct. 8, UB editors gathered on Twitter, via the hashtag #UBsuccess, for a live discussion with administrators and others in higher ed on how institutions, their leaders and the entire industry defines student success today. The goal: Get everyone sharing initiatives anyone could model.

And share you did. Ninety-nine unique contributors posted a total of more than 600 tweets with the hashtag during the hour-long event.

Paul Czarapata (@pczarapata), vice president and CIO of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, tweeted that “a student learning how to learn and adapt is critical to student success.” Robert Johnson (@BeckerPrez), president of Becker College in Massachusetts, had a similar sentiment. He noted that “successful graduates know how to be lifelong learners and to deliver value in a hyperconnected, flat world.”

Another participating president was Joseph Castro (@JosephICastro), who leads California State University, Fresno. He posted that success can also be measured by community service, internship experiences and graduate-program readiness.

The most popular (retweeted) tweet of the day came from Ken Anselment (@KenAnselment), dean of admissions at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. He wrote, “Student success is not measured in months or years, but lifetimes.”

The fast-paced conversation touched on various areas of student success that colleges and universities are focused on, from spotting at-risk students early and getting them help, to providing financial literacy for smart student loan borrowing.

The Twitter chat has also helped the UB editorial team shape our own student success initiative: Models of Excellence. Sponsored by Higher One, this recognition program is currently accepting applications for 2015. We’ll honor institutions that are:

  • expanding college access
  • increasing retention
  • impacting academic success/outcomes 
  • teaching financial literacy/responsibility
  • helping students engage in college life
  • boosting graduation rates
  • improving career preparation and guidance
  • helping students attain life skills.

Has your institution implemented an innovative student success initiative that reaches across campus departments and is getting results? We hope you’ll tell us about it.

Visit www.universitybusiness.com/mox for more information and to apply. The spring 2015 deadline is Jan. 15. And feel free to continue the #UBsuccess conversation publicly on Twitter to let the world know how your institution is bolstering student success.

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