Sometimes you get exactly what you want for your birthday.
When we first started planning CONNECTED 2016, the Student Success Collaborative national summit, I made the mistake of letting it slip that November 1—the first day of CONNECTED—would be my 40th birthday. Turning 40 is an important milestone, but not one I necessarily wanted to make a big deal out of. EAB decided to throw a party anyway (complete with cupcakes).
And what a party it was. Nearly 400 student success leaders from over 200 institutions converged on the Mandarin Oriental hotel in my hometown of Washington, D.C. for two days of learning, idea sharing, and networking.
As always, the foundation of CONNECTED was our student success research: deep dives into topics we know are top-of-mind for our members. I kicked things off with a look at how student success best practices have evolved over the last 80 years. No longer just about engaging and retaining students, we must now generate a “Return on Education”—timely degree completion, at lower cost, with better post-grad outcomes.
Infographic: The evolution of student success over 80 years
For two days, attendees navigated a robust agenda designed to provide context and actionable insight around top-of-mind issues. Here are a few highlights:
- Jamie Studwell led members in a workshop to advance the application of population health management principles to student success efforts. During the workshop, she introduced a set of new resources to help members operationalize the PHM framework.
- Matt Pellish shared how schools can help students navigate major choices and degree planning and remove self-imposed institutional barriers to on-time degree completion. This reduces student costs by shortening their time to degree.
Perhaps the most buzz was generated by our findings on the impact of small losses of financial aid on persistence. I spoke with no less than 20 members who are now looking to deploy targeted “micro-grants” as a novel student success strategy, something that we will follow closely in 2017.
From one campus to another
One of the best parts of the meeting was seeing dozens of members share their ideas, innovations and best practices with the rest of the Collaborative. Across two days, we profiled 38 members and 11 more took the stage to share their student success stories.
I personally saw Portland State University present on their large-scale process mapping and student services redesign, and Salisbury University speak about how they brought campus together to coordinate campaigns, make policy changes, and improve retention in less than one year. We are thankful to everyone who chose to share their work with our community in the spirit of the Collaborative.
Celebrating innovation and impact: A CONNECTED tradition
For four years, we have honored a few standout members for work in student success. Congratulations again to this year’s winners:
- Eastern Kentucky University—Data-Driven Impact Award
- University of Northern Colorado—Collaborative Citizenship Award
- Melissa Boog, Salisbury University—Visionary Leadership Award
- West Virginia University—Technology Pioneer Award
Thank you so much for the wonderful event. We can't wait to see you next year!
Be part of the action next year
To learn more about how you can take part in CONNECTED next year, request your free demo of the Student Success Collaborative.