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TSU's Systematic Approach to Student Success

Episode 151

May 16, 2023 39 minutes


Drs. Raijanel Crockem and Naomi Lawrence-Lee from Texas Southern University join EAB’s Joanie Garcia to discuss their work to strengthen TSU’s approach to student success. The three share tips on collecting and using data to convince faculty and senior leaders to become enthusiastic partners in the effort.

They also touch on the role of technology in identifying struggling students quickly and connecting those students with the right advisors and resources to get them back on track.


0:00:12.0 Speaker 1: Hello and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. Today we welcome leaders from Texas Southern University who share what they learned through their efforts to get people processes and technology working together at TSU to improve student retention and boost enrollment. So give these folks a listen and enjoy.

0:00:36.8 Joanie Garcia: Hello and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. My name is Joanie Garcia and my role here at EAB is serving as a strategic leader for our platform Navigate. And today I’m joined by the wonderful Dr. Raijanel Crockem and Dr. Lawrence-Lee from Texas Southern University. So if I could have each of you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit more about your role and maybe what makes Texas Southern so wonderful and unique. Dr. Crockem, we’ll start with you.

0:01:04.7 Dr. Crockem: Well thank you, Joanie, very much. We appreciate this opportunity to be able to participate in this session of Office Hours with EAB. My title is Associate Vice President of Institutional Assessment Planning and Effectiveness. That is a very long title to say basically our office is responsible for institutional research, institutional assessment, as well as some components of academic technology. I’ve been here, a part of the Texas Southern University team for over 26 years. In that time, I have enjoyed the journey of what I call the evolution of institutional research from going to just being data-driven to also encompassing a lot of assessment and strategic planning and currently our office actually reports to the President’s Office. In higher education, there’s a lot of shifts of such an office as ours reporting to the President. I think one thing that makes us very unique is that we have kind of unique peer institutions. We are a historically black college university, so obviously we have HBCU peers. We are actually one of only 11 HBCUs that are an R2 Carnegie classified institution, So we’re very, very proud of that. But we’re also a doctoral university campus as well, right?

0:02:21.9 DC: So we have peers like Texas A&M Commerce in Kingsville and the like. And so those are a couple of things that I think position us for a lot of unique opportunities. And I’m just excited to be a part of the team and to be here with you today.

0:02:39.7 JG: I agree.

0:02:40.4 Dr. Lawrence-Lee: Well, great. Thank you so much, Joanie. As I am also pleased to be here. I am Dr. Naomi Lawrence-Lee. My role here at the institution is I’m the Director of Academic Technology. I’ve been with the, in Higher Ed at the university for eight years, but my background has been business and finance for the past 25 years before I joined Higher Ed. I certainly take great pride in being a servant leader. I enjoy engaging with the university community, how I could help collaborate across the campus in supporting our students. I was actually part of the initial launch of EAB back in 2018, so I’ve seen it grow up, so to speak, and that’s been an awesome opportunity. And again, I’m excited to be here. And one thing I’d like to add, Dr. Crockem mentioned what’s unique about our institution. I believe one of the things that’s unique to me about our institution is that we’re in an urban city, which brings about some unique possibilities as students, not only engage on campus, but also engage in other community aspects that’s happening in and around this urban city. And so again, I’m happy to be here.

0:04:04.2 JG: We’re so happy to have both of you. And for our listeners, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with both Dr. Crockem and Dr. Lawrence-Lee for the past few years, and they bring so much light to their work and their institution. I’m just so happy you all get to share that with the rest of the higher education community through Office Hours. So thanks again for being here today and taking some time. So I know back in the fall or yeah, in the fall now, right? It’s been some time. You both had the opportunity to share at our large EAB annual conference and present your work on a systemic approach to student success. And I know firsthand a lot of folks said this was such a highlight of the event. So really wanting to highlight a lot of those takeaways from that conversation here today. So before we get to the takeaways from that conversation, I was hoping you all would be able to start by sharing some context around the nature student success at TSU and the revamps you’ve seen. I know Naomi, you had just mentioned since 2018, there’s been a lot of changes, even before that, right? Student success is always changing with the landscape of higher education. So I’d love to hear some examples from both of you or what are some initial challenges you were looking to address and how those have kind of come into fruition in the past few years?

0:05:24.3 DL: Yes, thank you, Joanie. I’ll start off first talking about the underutilization of technology. I mean, we always hear about people process technology. So one of the things that we found that was challenging was the hesitance of our community trying to master some new skills. And so what we also noted was that in order for this to happen, we needed to get more marketing involved, across the campus to be able to promote this new platform. And so in doing so, we noticed that it was certainly a systematic problem, certainly for the foundation of student success, which as we all know goes beyond technology. You have to look at processes in people because it’s the people that help become the engine, you know, to assist with student success. And student success belongs to just anybody, somebody, everybody, and certainly being able to understand that and communicate that. And so one of the things that we tackled first is explaining to them they have to do the work. And in doing the work, we offer training and things similar to what EAB does, with Office Hours. We hosted T-CLAW Office Hours. And in doing so, of course, we had to do the bait-and-switch. So we provided lunch, come and chat and chew. Let’s talk about how we can overcome some of these challenges that we know that is occurring here at the university.

0:07:07.6 DL: And then most importantly, we let the data guide our conversations ’cause we realized that there was a gap in data awareness in such that some of our key role players, they didn’t quite, I guess, connect or align some of the enrollment trends along with the graduation rates. So from my lens, those are some of the challenges that I’d like to highlight and certainly you know, Dr. Crockem is always talking numbers, right? So I’m gonna let her provide a few more specific outcomes.

0:07:50.5 DC: Thank you. Well, one thing that I’d like to address because we have a tendency to use a lot of acronyms. And so as Dr. Lawrence-Lee mentioned, T-CLAW, that is just our university’s branding of the Navigate platform. So that’s an acronym that stands for tigers, collaboratively learning, actively working. And so that went into kind to getting the buy-in and the ownership here at the university. And Joanie, I love the component that you mentioned about, you know, how did we do these systematic changes? Because we say all the time, you can get any type of technology you want, but if you overlay it onto a broken system, you’re not going to yield the results you anticipate. So for me, being an institutional research person, we’re always saying, let’s address the true problem. Let’s get to the essence of the problem. And so with implementing the platform, we were able to actually change business processes as well. And so that’s where we began with the infrastructure. What does academic advising look like at our institution? How can we improve this infrastructure at our university? Who are all the stakeholders that need to be involved in these particular trainings that we’re having, right?

0:09:02.3 DC: And to be quite transparent, it led to the creation of certain advising positions that didn’t exist before because we said, okay, we’re getting this very robust tool, but who’s going to be those responsible for utilizing it? How will students know about it? And so that goes back to what Naomi was talking about, marketing it. So when it comes down to my favorite about the data, we kind of, we celebrated in 2017 because we had at that time our highest enrollment in a decade. We were at over 10,000 students back in fall 2017. But then after that, we noticed an enrollment decline. Our enrollment declined for three consecutive years. Our fall to fall first time freshmen persistence rate also declined. And so when we go to share the data, these are the kind of things that we’re doing. We had this mountain top experience in ’17, but we didn’t continue along that vein. And so as Naomi mentioned, in 2018 is when we acquired and joined the EAB partnership. And in doing that, it helped to change our business practice and helped us to kind of get a lot of things strategically planned at the university from advising, recruitment, course offerings, all of these complimentary things that impact enrollment.

0:10:17.7 DC: And so in doing that, what we were able to do in the most recent year when our enrollment in fall 2021 had declined to actually 7,524 students because of our work with the platform, because of the work we did with T-CLAW and working with constituents across the campus and those key stakeholders, we were able to have a 15% enrollment increase from 2021 to 2022, increasing our enrollment in fall ’22 to 8,632. We were very, very excited about that, but it wasn’t only because of the platform, it was because of the conversations and the business processes that we addressed during that time as well. And then regarding our persistence rate, it just became with data awareness. A lot of people, I say, if you don’t know what enrollment is, if you don’t know what our persistence rate is, if you don’t know what our graduation rate is, then our office hasn’t done the best job that we should. For me, I should be able to walk to anyone in the hallway and say, hey, you know the graduation rate, what is it? So that led us to know that we had more training to do just to make people aware that we really had a problem in that decline. And so those were some of the things that we encountered and those were kind of the, those key points that we mentioned to say, guys, something has to change.

0:11:33.6 DC: We, as a university, we’re better than this. There’s a lot of opportunities here, but collectively, as a team, we have to work together to maximize resources that we have. And we have seen some successes in our enrollment increase. And even during the time of COVID, in looking at our 2020 cohort. We had the highest persistence rate on record at our university during COVID looking at the 2020 to 2021 students that actually continued at the university. So those are some kind of tangible data points. I don’t wanna just spew out a bunch of numbers, but I think it’s important to kind of put it in context along with the business process changes.

0:12:11.2 JG: Yeah. And it’s been so wonderful to watch those changes, right, from this systematic level and getting folks on campus on board with the technology and promoting that technology, as Dr. Lawrence-Lee mentioned, to really help with those goals. So I actually wanna take a step back for our listeners. I know we’re talked a lot about promoting technology and optimizing technology, and we kind of threw this name around, but what is Navigate, right? How have you all used Navigate and what does that technology mean to you on campus?

0:12:46.0 DL: So I’ll start with what is Navigate to Us? Navigate has proven to be a tool to help us with student success. As we’ll probably talk about even further in the conversation, our office works with academic affairs. We work with the people responsible for the student experience, even the business offices, because all of these components play a key role, all of these players with student success and navigate has been that tool to help us not just a new toy on the shelf that we wanted to have but something that we actually practice and certainly advocate that it becomes part of the daily work process. Truly as you get your morning cup of Joe or your morning cup of water that’s how we have our users to actually open up, navigate to begin their daily work because it’s an integral part of what we do here at the university.

0:13:49.9 DC: And I’ll add on to that, even more so with the faculty component. So absolutely right, as Naomi mentioned, although we report to the president’s office, of course we work very actively with the provost and with the deans. And that is our partnership, our direct line to working with the faculty and to be able to share with them resources that are available if students are having challenges or experiencing difficulties within their classroom. They’re the frontline contact for students in a lot of instances. Students may, you know, they’re going to see their faculty more than they see their academic advisor. So they’re a very important part of that process. And that was a part of the implementation strategy as well to kind of transition the thought of faculty from just student learning outcomes to those operational outcomes, to those student support outcomes as well, to be able to help students through progress report campaigns. And then to be able, for me again, institutional research, you’ll hear me say that a lot, but it allows you to be able to run reports and you can see if what you did worked.

0:14:57.8 DC: So if a student is reported as needing tutoring services in a particular class, then you can measure that and you can run a report to see, did a student attend that tutoring session? And then you can run a report and see how was that student’s grade at midterm in comparison to their final grade if they actually attended tutoring. And so I know that the time on the podcast is limited, so I can’t talk about all those things, but the high level, it allows you to be able to substantiate things that you may have a feeling are working as they should by actually just running the reports and showing the data and making data-driven decisions based on those particular things. Not to mention the dashboarding that is immediately accessible to academic advisors, deans, and higher level administrators as well to be able to readily access that information.

0:15:49.5 JG: Absolutely. For me in my role, I kind of see Navigate as this life cycle of the student experience, right? We’re using this technology to identify students, intervene and support students. And Dr. Crockem, as you mentioned, then how are we taking that in the lifecycle full circle there where we are identifying what interventions were successful using and running those reports to understand where’s our staff utilization best spent or staff time best spent? Where is the students that most need our help and really optimizing the technology in that way to support the student experience. So I’m really curious from your all’s perspective when thinking about optimizing this technology and getting the best use for what you all need it to do for you and your students, what are some of those student success priorities that you’re working with this technology to meet those needs on campus?

0:16:40.3 DC: Great question. The main thing, as I mentioned with the problems, the challenges that we recognize at the university was that students were not progressing as they should in order to be able to graduate within four years within the six year period. And so when someone asked me, why aren’t students graduating on time? I indicated because they’re not completing enough hours in their first semester. On average, we could run data and we provided data that shared on average students enrolled in about 14 semester credit hours. And they actually completed about 15 of those hours. I’m sorry, about 11 of those hours. And so that led to a campaign at the university called 15 to Finish. So again, with students taking 14 hours and then completing 11 of those hours, what 15 to Finish was, was a campaign that allowed students to be able to be contacted to say, we recognize that you’re a little bit off track. We want to be able to come in, advise you, make sure that you are aware that you’re a little bit off track regarding being able to progress at a respective level.

0:17:47.6 DC: And it actually led to some summer programming. And over a couple of years, we actually had summer funds that were allocated at the university for students to be able to take, or in some instances, let’s be transparent, to retake courses that they were not successful in so that they could actually get back on track. But it all began with the data sharing, being able to share that data and being aware of where students were falling short. Another thing, again, as I loosely mentioned, just creating faculty buy-in because we’ve had other technology platforms before and it’s not to say that those technology platforms weren’t good tools but we did not make the systematic changes needed for those tools to be successful. And so a lot of people were like okay this is just another tool, the last one didn’t work, this one isn’t going to work. So we had to say okay well how can we change that culture? How can we show them that if you invest the time and as Naomi said earlier actually put in the work, this can help our students, this can help us. It can trim down some of the time that we take sending emails to students because you can actually create a campaign and track it as such. You can monitor which students have replied to you in the platform, you can set up your office hours, a lot of different things you can do like that. But then actually we created that faculty buy-in. We started out just in.

0:19:10.0 DC: In the most honest way that we could, this is a new platform. Come on guys, we can do it. It’s gonna work. Trust us [laughter] It’s not like before. [laughter] But in doing that, some bought in and some did not. So as researchers, what we did was we shared that data awareness. We ran reports and we said, Hey, these are the areas that are using the platform. Great. And these are the successes that they’re seeing. And by default, if you are not on this list of those who are using this platform and seeing successes, this is something you need to do. And we found in a lot of instances because it was their peers that they were seeing having success, that helped us to get a little faculty buy-in and we reported persistence rates and graduation rates and all of those respective things and we showed that those areas, it wasn’t a one-to-one correlation, but we showed at least those areas that had a structure and something implemented in that manner, they did see successes in their students participating in those tutoring sessions and then ultimately actually coming back to the university at a higher rate in some specific majors that had those active advising programs in line. So that really helped.

0:20:26.0 JG: What I’m hearing a lot of what you’re saying too is the power of data sharing and owning this data across campus for the betterment of the student experience, especially when we think about students in distress. If they go to one office asking for help, then they go to another office asking the same question, or maybe we’re redirected to that other office retelling that story, and the power of this technology, being able to have this data sharing component of allowing the student experience to feel uniform across these different offices, that can sometimes feel an institution’s really siloed. So I’m really curious from your all’s perspective at Texas Southern, how have you kind of matched that data sharing and importance of sharing the student’s story and experience with also, we hear a lot of times, the protection of data in the integrity of that data as well, the student has certain information that we wanna keep siloed in different ways for protection of that student and support. But also, there’s that balance of sharing and also keeping that data in the hands of who needs it. So I’m curious if you all could speak more on that component as well.

0:21:37.9 DL: So one of the things I’d like to mention as being part of that top priority in protecting students’ data is that we have a resource library and within that resource library, there are open access documents to help train both faculty advisors and other staff that may be in business offices. So one of the things that we certainly explained to them is because we’re on single sign on, a staff person can log in, but the only way you get access to any student’s information is based upon your role and certainly the permissions that are garnered to that role. But we try to be very clear that everyone doesn’t need to see students information. And certainly expressing, even documenting student interactions ’cause certainly, there have been conversations, well what happens if it’s a behavior concern? Well, we have alerts where it just sends a notification to that office without an email being sent to a student.

0:22:46.9 DL: But with those care units, we take great care with our student information knowing that we just don’t want it to be certainly accessible to anyone. And certainly also having them to understand how this information must be protected and also when they’re documenting these student interactions that we give them some I guess templates like to-dos and not to do but to be certain that you’re addressing the concern that you have for the student and what was discussed. Because just knowing the protections that the student has under FERPA. So that’s something that’s a real big concern and we certainly pride ourselves in aligning that as one of our top priorities.

0:23:38.1 JG: Absolutely.

0:23:40.1 DC: Definitely roles and permissions.

0:23:42.1 DL: Yes, definitely.

0:23:43.3 DC: ‘Cause and that again, Joanie, it goes back to the training to understand if this is your role and then this is what you have access to. You can work in complimentary fashion with one of your colleagues that may have a different role, but as far as one logging in under their credentials and seeing something that they should not have access to, I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done in doing that to be able to manage those particular roles.

0:24:07.3 JG: And I think too, with optimizing technology, it’s maybe getting to this myth that the myth of, oh, well everyone can see everything and everything is on campus, right? I think optimizing the technology means using it in the ways that are best suited for you and your team and customizing it Right?

0:24:23.4 DC: Exactly.

0:24:24.2 JG: Per team so that they have access to the right information. And of course that takes time to make sure that the things are set up according to what one office might need compared to another office on campus might need. But they have access to the data that’s important to supporting their student population is how I see it in my role.

0:24:43.2 DL: Yes. I agree. And one thing I’d like to also add is, when you think about customization, we actually take and customize different areas profile so that when students are receiving information so that they are not inundated with so much noise on the email traffic lane where we’ll have it just coming from a unit and others are added per se, be it appointment campaign or messaging campaign to be clear and concise and certainly strategic as we intentionally try to reach out to students.

0:25:19.8 JG: I agree. I think that strategy is so important, especially from that communication lens to make sure, they’re gonna hear a lot of noise at the institution, but where is that noise coming from and making sure it’s streamlined in a process so it’s not overwhelming.

0:25:35.1 DL: Right. And then the other thing, Joanie, I would be remissed if I did not add this because I was so excited when EAB Navigate introduced the enrollment campaigns. With the enrollment campaign, that is one of our other priorities. This allows us to certainly prevent students from slipping through the cracks. We get them to start thinking about registration a whole lot early and then certainly the nudges, ’cause as you know the students are particularly, these millennials, gen Z, they’re getting nudged for everything. Nudge, it’s time for you to walk, nudge, it’s time for you take a break.

0:26:15.5 JG: Gotta Stand up. I haven’t stood up for the past hour.

0:26:16.6 DL: That’s it. Exactly. Exactly. So we build nudges also within those enrollment campaigns so that we don’t have to come back and try to manage the email streamlines of communication. And so we’re really excited about the opportunity to provide this enrollment campaign which helps advisors. And of course we gotta just constantly keep training, but with these enrollment campaigns, we have our undergraduate population as well as our graduate and professional student population that receives those. And to date, our graduate population represents about 11% and our professional is about 9%. So that’s like collectively 20% of our population that was previously untapped regarding advising. And so by being able to utilize those enrollment campaigns, we’re able to actually target these particular groups. So the enrollment campaigns, I would’ve been remissed if I didn’t mention that ’cause I got really excited when it was first introduced.

0:27:24.4 JG: Yeah. And to our guests at home too. So they kind of understand more about those nudges and this enrollment campaign that Dr. Lawrence-Lee is referring to. We can nudge students if they haven’t enrolled for classes and remind them that registration is coming up for upcoming semesters and encourage them to get the support and resources for registering, which is really great. I would also be remissed if we didn’t spend a little bit of time talking. I know Dr. Crockem, you mentioned earlier about the importance of faculty in student success and them being a part of this systematic approach to student success. So I would love to just take a few minutes if you all could spend some time talking about how was that experience when… I know we talked about, oh, another technology on campus, another thing. How receptive were faculty early on to supporting these initiatives for student success and getting integrated in this technology?

0:28:22.8 DC: Of course faculty were receptive, but I say that in jazz simply because at the onset, Naomi and I, we strategized about the best manner to do that because we recognized we are administrators, right? We’re not faculty. My only faculty experience was when I was a TA and I taught at the graduate level. So we recognized that we are administrators, so we just could not come in and say, oh, we have this new platform and now you’re going to use it, right? So we met with the provost and we met with the deans and we talked at Dean’s council to just introduce this is what’s coming. And what we recognized is that there was a gap in communication between our office presenting things high level to say the president’s cabinet, which the provost sits on that membership team, being able to present graduation rates and persistence rates to that audience, it really didn’t trickle down to the faculty level.

0:29:24.2 DC: And so in a lot of instances, it goes back again to just data awareness and making sure that everyone is aware of certain data points. And so in doing that, what we did was not only did we present to the president’s cabinet as well as to the provost, but we went into dean’s council. And at Dean’s council, we were invited to actually do presentations to the opening faculty meeting so we’ve done that a couple of times. This was actually even pre covid where we had them in person. And I remember when we were there presenting it, we actually co-presented with one of the leaders in our student success area at the time. And when we presented the graduation rate at the time it was I think it was at 9%, four year graduation rate was at 9% and at the time, our six year graduation rate was about 23%.

0:30:19.2 DC: And I remember the faculty just being like, what? In four years we’re only graduating 9% of students? What is going on? But it was really an aha moment, an awakening moment to have that data discovery and that data awareness to them to be able to make sure that they kind of included that information in their thought processes. And so from there it led to conversations about how that impact is initially done a lot of times with DFWI grades. And so looking at our academic policy and looking at our tutoring services that we offered and how that impacts persistence and how it impacts progression and then ultimately graduation. And so again, the data awareness really helped faculty to kind of buy into it and then showing them the benefits of it. So we come back later and then we present, our persistence rate went up, our progression rate went up, enrollment has increased to show them the successes of the work that they were actually able to put in. Not to mention a lot of the business processes that changed as well, which included a revamping of our academic policy and a revamping of academic advising. So it’s like your work is not in vain. We’re using this data to drive institutional change.

0:31:36.7 JG: And I’m sure those are a lot of conversations you’re having at the senior leadership level as well to inform them of the return on investment on this technology and the ways that this is really helpful to our student experience. So as we’re kind of wrapping up here, I’m sure we could spend so much time talking about all the great work that Texas Southern is doing, but I really wanted to kind of end with thinking about two main questions. So first is, what results or improvements have you all been able to point to that we’re on track and this is really helping? I know we’ve kind of alluded to ways, right? The life cycle full circle and reporting, but what are ways that we’ve really seen this move the needle on our student success efforts?

0:32:19.5 DC: Again, it goes back to the data. I sound like, I feel like I’m talking like a broken record, right?

0:32:25.3 DL: Yes.

0:32:26.2 DC: But it goes back to the data points and having that data discovery about why students were not returning. I did a simple presentation and disaggregated the data of those students who did not return showing what percent did not return because they could not because they were on academic probation. And again, that’s not only the senior leadership level, but it’s the faculty, it’s advising and we have to be really honest and transparent and say nothing is off the table. Whatever we need to do at this university to improve and support students, we’re going to do it. And Naomi had a couple of other really great thing that she worked directly with that I would like her to share as well.

0:33:03.9 DL: It certainly one of the things to let us know that we are on track, back in 2018, when we started with the platform, we might have had 35% to 40% students with assigned advisors. Now, because we have planned so well, I’m happy to say that each semester we have a hundred, almost a hundred percent with students that are assigned to advisors. And so by having that students one know who are members of their success team, those are their advisors or peer tutors. And not only that, one of the things that lets us know that we’re on the right track with assigned advisors, we once had places where many areas still only wanted to meet face-to-face and not utilize the video conferencing and certainly setting up the appointments. So we’ve been able to have a paradigm shift by having the advisor assignment and certainly the various meeting types in the platform where we could see that students are being serviced.

0:34:05.1 DC: And I would be remissed if I didn’t mention again, those data points from 2021 to 2022.

0:34:13.0 DL: Yes.

0:34:13.3 DC: 15% enrollment increase from spring ’22 to spring ’23, 10% enrollment increase. And then last year, our six year graduation rate was the highest on record at the university, 26%. And that was a three percentage point increase over the prior year. So when you talk about return on investment, moving in the needle, here we go guys, we’re seeing some outcomes. This is only the beginning. We have to keep moving forward doing the same thing.

0:34:36.5 DL: Excellent.

0:34:36.6 JG: Everyone listening in their cars or at home or on their run wherever they’re listening to the podcast can’t see all the confetti I’m throwing in the background to celebrate.

0:34:44.4 DC: Yes.

0:34:44.5 JG: All of this exciting work. And I think that’s the power of this technology. And when you optimize it, really seeing that return on investment with how we’re restructuring time, especially, I know that can be so powerful getting back some of that time for staff and then being able to optimize that time in different ways so that we can have full advisor support for students. So I’m just so excited and so happy to be a part of this work with you all. So last but not least for everyone, again, listening wherever you’re at in the world, what are some takeaways or advice you would have from other folks that are wanting to initiate similar efforts and launch this at their own institution?

0:35:23.2 DL: Certainly. So just a few takeaways. One, acknowledge the small victories. Celebrate with a growth mindset like giving kudos. The other would be early communications with students and faculty. Onboarding is essential. Professional nudges really work, right? And then most importantly, as faculty provide feedback, close the loop. Advisors respond and talk about what was the triage and the intervention done. So definitely closing the loop. Dr. Crockem?

0:35:56.0 DC: I would add on to that, definitely maintaining valid resources. A lot of the platform utilization goes into maintenance. And so that includes contacting those areas you work with. Is this person still in this position? Is this still their office location? Do you still offer tutoring here? Do you have any new areas in your respective office? And so that again, puts it in the forefront of them. So each semester we reach out to those respective areas regarding tutoring, student support, ask if the contact information is still valid so that when we’re sending communications to students, we wanna make sure that we’re sending them accurate information and they have confidence in the platform. And then definitely, maximizing the resources that you have, templatize where possible. So what I mean by templatize is, if you get a lot of common requests from students, a lot of common requests from faculty, create a FAQ, a standard reply so that anyone in your office can just change the name.

0:36:57.8 DC: Dear professor A, thank you for this correspondence. On behalf of… And then send that email right on in and anyone can actually send that communication with some nice screenshots about what to do. And then the most important thing we’ve been talking about, system-wide processes, business processes must transcend personnel. There is nothing worse than getting a system up and running and functional and then that person goes on to another position or leaves your institution, business must go on. And so the only way that business can transcend personnel is if you have university-wide buy-in, you have resources and then you have that templatized information to be able to share with others at the university.

0:37:40.2 JG: Speaking the truth. Can’t agree more with all of brief take away.

0:37:46.5 DL: More confetti.

0:37:47.9 DC: More confetti.


0:37:48.6 JG: Confetti, we’re throwing over here. So Dr. Crockem, Dr. Lawrence-Lee, thank you so much for joining us from sunny Houston. We are so thankful for your time and your talent and the ways that you support students in sharing that with the larger collaborative. So it’s been such a pleasure to see the work that you all have made and the progress over the last five years of our partnership too. So I really hope it’s not another five years until you’re back on our podcast. So would you be able or willing to come back and give us some updates in the future on your student success strategy and plans?

0:38:17.1 DC: Anything.

0:38:17.3 DL: And so first, I wanna just say thank you so much for having us and Dr. Crockem said anything.

0:38:23.7 DC: Anything for you Joanie, definitely. [laughter]

0:38:26.7 JG: So sweet as always. Well, thank you so much for your time.


0:38:34.8 S1: Thank you for listening. Please join us next week for a conversation with the executive director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement. Until then, thank you for your time.

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