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Articles: Student Success

Outlook 2017 is UB’s third annual special issue aimed at providing insight on the major trends expected to impact campus leaders in the year to come.

Ensuring students are prepared for college and then do well academically, emotionally, physically and financially are key goals of student success initiatives on campuses today. Top institutional officials have student success on their minds—most of them even more so than in 2016, according to a UB survey that includes responses from 66 presidents, chancellors and provosts. 

COLLEGE SERVICES--Susan Brennan is associate vice president of University Career Services at Bentley University. Kara J. Della Croce is director of campus recruiting at Ernst & Young LLP.

Colleges and universities must face a harsh reality: Employer expectations of their graduates are changing. It’s not enough for candidates to have the professional or technical skills needed for a particular job. Hiring managers now want employees with the ability to apply both hard and soft skills to their role.

Bill Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

Despite its sometimes rigid conventions and customs, higher education is still very good at finding innovative solutions to problems that face students. Today’s college graduates are struggling. They need the technical skills to enter the modern workforce and the ability to advance their careers—not one or the other.

Student success is inherently at the center of every institution’s mission, and this round of Models of Excellence showcases eight initiatives dedicated to supporting that goal, from before a student’s first class right through—and beyond—graduation.

Scott A. Bass is the provost at American University in Washington, D.C.

How many databases does your campus administer in the broad area of student support? American University uses more than 36 databases for different student-related administrative and learning management functions—yet, there is little to no integration.

Jim Scannell is senior consultant for enrollment management for Ruffalo Noel Levitz. He is the former president of Scannell & Kurz.

As demographic, economic and market volatility continue to challenge higher ed’s ability to enroll a sufficient number of students able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available, understanding and advancing your institution’s value proposition should be at the top of the to-do agenda.

W. Allen Richman, dean of the Office of Planning, Assessment and Institutional Research at Prince George’s Community College, has led the institution in revamping data systems to get a clearer picture of student performance.

Data can be a beautiful thing. It can reveal patterns, failures and sometimes, surprises—as long as the measurements are consistent. At Prince George’s Community College that wasn’t the case. Each class was measuring different things, so campus leaders couldn’t quite see the big picture.

Students at Connecticut College can access its student information system via mobile or desktop.

In today’s world of vast networks and complex data analysis, the student information system is becoming a powerful tool to track—and influence—student success. By looking at the big picture of data generated across an institution’s enterprise resource planning software, universities can begin to forecast student outcomes.

“Look for a system that is very easy to use and easily adopted. I would want to make sure the new SIS could be easily connected to the fundraising system, housing system and admission system. I’d look for the SIS to become the core of our operation and make sure everything can easily be integrated with it.”

—Jack Chen, CIO, Adelphi University

College and universities must face a harsh reality: employer expectations of their graduates are changing. As the world becomes more complex, so do employer demands. It’s not enough for candidates to have the professional or technical skills needed for a particular job. Hiring managers now want strong “right brain” attributes -- communication, collaboration and creativity – and the ability to apply both hard and soft skills to their role.

The University of Maryland’s open source textbook initiative, known as “MOST,” has guided faculty through more than 50 OER adoptions. The program helps instructors assemble resources to significantly keep down the cost of course materials.

Open educational resources have grown over the last few years from one-off oddities in single courses to the basis of entire degree programs. Cutting out textbook costs for students tops the list of reasons administrators encourage faculty to develop and adopt these free—or very inexpensive—resources, also known as OER.

Considering that textbooks can account for 25 percent of a community college student’s degree, some institutions have banded together to develop more open educational resources.

Higher education historians often trace the modern growth and democratization of American higher learning to federal student financial aid – providing a system of higher education financing that has opened the doors of college and university campuses to students and families who would otherwise be unable to afford the spiraling costs of college tuition.   

This growth in government-sponsored student financial aid has also subsidized the sustainable growth and development of public, private non-profit, and more recently, for-profit institutions of higher learning.

How many databases does your campus administer in the broad area of student support?

American University utilizes more than 36 databases for different student-related administrative and learning management functions. Each data system was designed to serve the professional needs of discrete administrative units and is maintained and updated as needed. For the most part, these systems meet their intended purposes. Yet, there is little to no integration among these discrete data elements.

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