Student Success Insights Blog

From insight to action: Highlights from the SSC National Summit

by Richard Staley

Richard Staley, Managing Director
Student Success Collaborative

Earlier this month, we hosted our 2nd annual Summit. Though only a third of our members were in attendance (this was the first of three meetings, with the next two taking place in December and January), it was striking how much has changed since last year's inaugural Summit—the most obvious being the size of SSC.

We are now 125 members strong and represent an increasingly diverse set of institutions whose undergraduate enrollment numbers range from less than 2,000 to nearly 40,000 and whose graduation rates span 12% to 87%. Despite the diversity of SSC, each institution faces similar challenges and shares the goal of helping more students succeed.

Learning from our members

The national meeting is the highlight of my year as it enables progressive leaders to come together to discuss the most pressing challenges (and most promising solutions) in student success. It's a forum for members to learn from one another by sharing best practices, posing thought-provoking questions, and brainstorming innovative ideas.

While we share a lot of our own data, research, and a glimpse of what’s to come in 2015, the most important material comes directly from members reflecting on their use of data and technology to impact students and ultimately drive gains in retention and graduation rates. Some of the most exciting stories we heard from member institutions came with with the announcement of the SSC Annual Awards, which honor institutions that fulfill our core mission.

Announcing the winners of SSC's Annual Awards

1. Visionary Leadership Award: California State University, Long Beach (CSULB): Tom Enders, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services

Tom received this award for the leadership he bestows upon his campus and the SSC membership. Tom is a two-time member of the Product Advisory Council who is always willing to share his best practices. His leadership builds on a long history of student success improvement at CSULB; in the past five years, CSULB has raised their six-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen by more than 20%.

2. Data-Driven Impact Award: Purdue University Calumet (PUC)

PUC is recognized for its exemplary data-driven practices that contributed to a first-year, full-time retention increase of 4.7% in one year.

3. Collaborative Citizenship Award: Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU Carbondale)

SIU Carbondale is honored with this award for its commitment to sharing best practices with other SSC members. Their academic advising best practices contributed to an 8.3% improvement in the retention of first-year, full-time students from Fall 2013 to Fall 2014.

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Other stories from across SSC

The challenge at Georgia State University

At last year's inaugural summit, Timothy Renick, Vice Provost of Georgia State University (GSU), received an SSC award on behalf of the university. In this video, he shares how SSC helped GSU translate data into strategies that significantly narrowed the achievement gap. Watch the video.

We also heard exemplary stories from other institutions and gave those in attendance the opportunity to speak about the issues they face, including change management, technology adoption and integration, advisor and faculty engagement, proactive and targeted student initiatives, and using data to spur systemic change.

Given the growth in size, scope, and impact we've seen within the Collaborative this year, I can't help but anticipate the exciting work that will take place in 2015. Thank you to all who attended, and I look forward to seeing some of you at a Summit in December and January.

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