Back in November, we surveyed around 200 leaders in the Student Success Collaborative about what research would be most helpful to them in leading student success initiatives in 2017. The number one topic that piqued their interest was “Data-Driven Success Planning: How to Use the EAB Institution Reports to Uncover Your Next 5 Years of Student Success Opportunities”. I was surprised by the level of interest. Many other topics generated passionate interest from corners of the membership, but only this one had such broad appeal across all institutions types—advising model, size, selectivity—and roles within the student success organization.
Of course, any institution that invests in student success analytics wants to use their student data systematically to inform decisions about how to promote student success. So the question behind the question is: Why isn’t it happening already? What stops some people from taking advantage of student data tools, like the Institution Reports, to drive their student success efforts?
The leaky pipeline of data enablement
Watching Ed Venit dig into the evolution of student success like a higher education paleontologist last year, I knew academic advising would emerge as a key part of that evolution. According to Venit’s study, in the 1990s professional advisors emerged as critical frontline players in student support, and their role expanded in scope across the subsequent two decades.
Download the Evolution of Student Success infographic
While compelling and instructive, I quickly realized this tour of the history of student success really only scratches the surface when it comes to advising. The evolution of academic advising as a profession is a larger (and longer!) story that deserves to be told.
Telling this story can help today’s advisors better understand how history has shaped their profession, and how it will affect innovation in the coming years.
The evolution of academic advising—and what comes next
For four months, I’ve taken a quick break at 2 p.m. to step out of the office. But contrary to what my colleagues may think, I’m not grabbing a coffee at the Starbucks across the street—I’m catching Pokémon.
I’ve spent those daily 15-minute breaks walking around the block collecting items from the "Pokéstops" at the corner and capturing the local "Pokéfauna." With that habit, I’ve managed to reach level 27 (several levels above my 11- and 15-year old children, to their embarrassment). For the uninitiated, Pokémon GO is a smartphone game that layers the classic 1990s Nintendo handheld game of catching digital creatures called Pokémon onto a virtual reality rendering of the player’s actual surroundings.
Hold your judgement. What began out of sheer curiosity into a popular craze has evolved into a professional fascination and surprising source of inspiration for my work as a user experience designer: how can virtual “hooks” create new behaviors? After all, if the emergence of cartoon animals on a map could get me to take a walk every day, surely there are mechanisms to instill “success habits” in our students. Here are my four biggest lessons:
4 things Pokémon GO taught me about student success