Through in-depth interviews with more than 100 higher education experts and leaders to identify key themes for successful changes in higher education, 10 models of transformational change surfaced that are leading to noticeable results for institutions and students – particularly, the new student majority. This series of snapshots highlights colleges and universities—such as Franklin and Marshall College, Georgia State University, Lipscomb University, and others—that are embracing this framework to create real and lasting change for students and for the future of higher education.
Drexel University focuses on five key and coordinated strategies to drive the pursuit of student success. It committed itself to approaching student success by understanding students’ lived experience, revamping its student financial aid system to focus more on need rather than merit, providing structures to give faculty a stronger voice, implementing a co-op internship program for students, and building a local pipeline of low-income and first-generation students to support the surrounding community.
In the past few years, Elgin Community College has been growing its ability throughout the institution to use data, translate it into meaningful information, and make sense of that information in practice. The college was able to grow a culture of evidence-based decision making through the Student Success Infrastructure and the use of Data Rangers.
Six years ago, Franklin and Marshall (F&M) was one of many small town liberal arts colleges under pressure from rising costs and a shrinking pool of traditional applicants. To combat these pressures, President Dan Porterfield thought beyond the status quo—creating a new pipeline of talent through a set of strategic K-12 partnerships and implementing a broader set of student support services, which enabled F&M to thrive while providing opportunities for success to underrepresented students.
A few years ago, Georgia State University was an institution with significant gaps in enrollment and graduation across student groups and without a real connection to the city surrounding it. Today, after implementing major initiatives to better leverage available student data and aid dollars, the university is closing access and success gaps.
For two decades, Lipscomb University faced falling enrollment and a shrinking budget. Under new leadership, Lipscomb University successfully created a competency-based education program for adult learners that increased enrollment and helped more students meet their college and career goals.
The Minerva Project is a for-profit higher education venture aimed at redesigning the college experience as we know it. By lowering tuition costs and eliminating student quotas, Minerva has been able to appeal to a broader student population. Plus, Minerva has decoupled the student experience by offering students a global residential experience that enables them to live in seven international cities during college while attending small, interactive, online seminars.
Every year, about seven out of 10 freshmen arrived unprepared for college math and needed to take remedial courses. Only half of those placed in developmental math returned for their second year, and just 5 percent earned a credential in three years. The Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS) math remediation program at Chattanooga State Community College drastically improved these outcomes by partnering with high schools in order to have students complete state math requirements before even arriving on campus.
The DirectConnect program at Valencia College is a response to a nationwide problem: the leaky pipeline for community college students who want to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. Although some 80 percent of community college students say they plan to transfer to earn a four-year degree, only about 40 percent do, and only 17 percent actually earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. Valencia has improved these outcomes by partnering with nearby University of Central Florida, allowing students to seamlessly transition to a bachelor’s degree.