Buying a predictive analytics tool isn't enough, says Bridget Burns, executive director of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA).
She stresses that colleges can see very different results based on how they implement the tools.
"A lot of people say they have (predictive analytics). They might have a vendor relationship, but there are certain applications of it that we have validated are real, and driving change," Burns tells Campus Technology magazine.
In particular, Burns emphasizes that campuses should not rush onboarding a new tool and integrating it into their workflows.
"Too often, people spend at most 10% to 20% of their energy on the onboarding process and it really has to be 50% in higher ed," she says.
These insights come from early experiments with predictive analytics by three of the 11 total UIA partner institutions. One partner, Georgia State University, has already boosted its semester-by-semester retention rates 5% and cut students' time-to-graduation by nearly half a semester.
"We've seen this play out with our members," says Rich Staley, a managing director of EAB's Student Success Collaborative (SSC). The key to real results, he says, is going beyond talking to "take real steps to implement."
"It's important to build a culture of student success where people use data and discuss it, but most importantly, have the will to take the necessary steps to implement on campus," Staley says. "This means setting up the right leadership structure, gaining buy-in, implementing the process, monitoring and tweaking as necessary."
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Burns says this is where a collaborative partnership, like UIA's, can be helpful. Institutions can share ideas and best practices based on their early experiences. For example, the organization recently launched a randomized controlled trial of 10,000 students to test which interventions work best for first-generation students who fall behind.
"That is an example of something we can only do together," Burns says.
"We think that going it alone… is a huge waste of time, energy and money," Burns tells Campus Technology. "So we work together to innovate, scale up what works, and diffuse broadly student success innovation."
The emphasis on sharing ideas resonates with Ed Venit, an EAB senior director with SSC.
"We reached the same conclusions. There's real power in collaboration," Venit says. "Hence the name, Student Success Collaborative (SSC). It's one of our foundational principles."
Venit says SSC's focus on collaboration helped shape the format of its upcoming member summit, CONNECTED, which includes panels, case studies of successful members, and ample time for attendees to network and discuss their ideas (Raths, Campus Technology, 10/17).
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