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Project Compass Learning Community Meeting April 23, 2010 WELCOME!

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Presentation on theme: "Project Compass Learning Community Meeting April 23, 2010 WELCOME!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Project Compass Learning Community Meeting April 23, 2010 WELCOME!

2 Meeting Outcomes: Meeting Outcomes: Campus Community of Practice Members will leave with increased knowledge of advising, including conceptual, relational perspectives that extend student supports beyond the classroom conceptual, relational perspectives that extend student supports beyond the classroom Strategies for building support networks across campus for underserved students; and Strategies for building support networks across campus for underserved students; and Uniqueness and commonalities of students who are currently underserved. Uniqueness and commonalities of students who are currently underserved.

3 Meeting Outcomes: Meeting Outcomes: Campus Community of Practice Members will leave with increased knowledge of Current status of various campus-based interventions being used by Project Compass campuses Current status of various campus-based interventions being used by Project Compass campuses Opportunities for building institutional support for promising practices for Year 3 Opportunities for building institutional support for promising practices for Year 3

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5 Project Compass: Taking Stock How does Compass work relate to ongoing national context for higher education? What is the significance of advising as a core feature of the campus that supports broad-based institutional change?

6 1. Underserved students are an asset to the institution and present opportunities for broad-based institutional change in policy and practice which benefit all the institution’s students. Project Compass. 6 Core Assumptions.

7 2. Sustained, institution-level change supporting increased success and retention of underserved students requires ongoing collaboration from across the college—including executive leadership and students—and can benefit from external engagement with the community. Project Compass. 6 Core Assumptions.

8 3. In and of themselves, “islands of excellence” which retain underserved students in larger numbers but which exist at the margins of the institution will not result in broad-based cultural change unless they are scaled up, both in scope and function and connected to other institutional change initiatives. Project Compass. 6 Core Assumptions.

9 4. Change in institutional culture— including practices, policies, and other conditions—supporting the success and retention of underserved students must be supported by extant research from the field. Project Compass. 6 Core Assumptions.

10 5. An ongoing culture of evidence and inquiry where quantitative and qualitative data from both internal and external sources is collected, interpreted, and analyzed is essential to the formulation, implementation, and ongoing improvement of practices and policies supporting underserved students. Project Compass. 6 Core Assumptions.

11 6. Colleges and universities committed to institutional change to better retain underserved students will benefit from ongoing collaborative relationships with peer institutions with like commitments. Project Compass. 6 Core Assumptions.

12 Project Compass: Taking Stock The national context for change… –Increased attention to curricular and co-curricular shifts High Impact Practices – Kuh Transformational pedagogies – Rendon Cultural dissonances within the classroom – Gabriel and Flake Cultural dissonances between college and community - Cox Developmental education – Gates, Lumina et al

13 Project Compass: Taking Stock The national context for change… –Focused attention for action-oriented research on retention and student success –Highlighted focus on institutional action and commitment Choosing to Improve Pell Institute for Study of Higher Education Achieving the Dream Promoting a Culture of Student Success - SREB

14 Southern Regional Education Board “Promoting a Culture of Student Success” Review of extant literature on institutional practices that support graduation of all students with particular focus on underserved populations 15 institutions selected based on –Six-year graduation rate of at least 45% –Median SAT no higher than 1050 –25% Pell recipients –Public baccalaureate or master’s level institution

15 Summary of Factors Related to Student Success: “Promoting a Culture of Student Success” Focus and expectations Consistency and longevity Early intervention Collaboration Student engagement Faculty influence Personal support Southern Regional Education Board (2010). “Promoting a Culture of Student Success.” Southern Regional Education Board (2010). “Promoting a Culture of Student Success.”

16 Summary of Factors Related to Student Success: “Promoting a Culture of Student Success” Recommendation: “…student advisement is clearly important to student success.”

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18 A dvising Exemplifies and enacts the commitment to a culture of student success

19 The Topic of Advising Resonates with all four campuses Exemplifies many of the core assumptions of Project Compass, e.g. underserved students as assets Allows for deep exploration of the skills, knowledge and dispositions that are central to engaging students effectively

20 Trusted Agents This means you! –What is it that you are doing to engender trust? –How would you describe your skills and knowledge? –What have been key moments in your own learning about engaging students? (What are students teaching you?)

21 Trusted Agents  Growing body of literature on the role of trusted agents  (Salazar, Ibarra, NERCHE’s research on transfer between 2 year colleges and 4 year private colleges)  Particular importance for students who do not represent the majority culture  Trusted agents can be anyone in any role on campus

22 Torch Bearer? Fire Starter? As Project Compass evolves into new and related initiatives, what will you carry forward in terms of practices that support consistent, high quality engagement with students? Who will be your allies in sustaining commitments to advising, such as continued professional development for faculty and staff? In your sphere of influence, how can you turn the tensions of change into opportunities?

23 Advising Tensions Transformation and tension are partners. The deeper the change effort, the more you touch the level of values and long-held assumptions Tensions around advising can attest to the depth and quality of efforts, but the real test is in how you manage the communication and dialogue

24 Representative Tensions and Opportunities 1. Tensions around perceptions of students’ values and motivations  What are students’ lives like?  How do we create expectations?

25 Tensions and Opportunities cont. Tensions and Opportunities cont. 2. Tensions around how reciprocal the advising relationship should or could be What are the responsibilities of students? How much outreach and guidance is appropriately intrusive and how much is too much?

26 Tensions and Opportunities cont. 3. The urgency of protecting privacy of students and the urgency of flagging warning signs  If we are all concerned about students’ well-being, how can we strike a balance?  How can we create efficient systems and keep the personal touch as well?

27 Tensions and Opportunties, cont. Tensions and Opportunties, cont. 4. The time required for engaging 1-1 and competing pressures for time. The more effective you are as an advisor, the more advisees you have and the less time.  Where are the links between advising and institutional priorities?  How to link priorities and rewards?

28 In Conclusion Part I In Conclusion Part I Advising fosters engagement and supports student retention Advising fosters engagement and supports student retention A coherent approach to advising acknowledges and supports trusted agents, not just formally designated advisors A coherent approach to advising acknowledges and supports trusted agents, not just formally designated advisors You, the trusted agents, have skills, knowledge and qualities that we hope will flourish and spread as Compass evolves into multiple change efforts You, the trusted agents, have skills, knowledge and qualities that we hope will flourish and spread as Compass evolves into multiple change efforts

29 In Conclusion Part II Tensions in any change initiative are inevitable; tensions around advising can catalyze growth and quality Tensions in any change initiative are inevitable; tensions around advising can catalyze growth and quality Someone needs to keep an eye on the process, manage the dialogue Someone needs to keep an eye on the process, manage the dialogue Consider what you stand to lose if tensions divide and exclude versus what you stand to gain through an inclusive process Consider what you stand to lose if tensions divide and exclude versus what you stand to gain through an inclusive process Sometimes seeking a way forward together in ambiguity is more productive than voting on the ultimate truth Sometimes seeking a way forward together in ambiguity is more productive than voting on the ultimate truth

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31 Rationale for Institutional Focus on Retention To be serious about the success of academically under-prepared students, institutions would recognize that the roots of their attrition lie not only in student backgrounds and the academic skills they bring to campus, but in the very character of the educational settings in which students are asked to learn… ----Vincent Tinto, Syracuse University. National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, May 2008

32 Project Compass. Institutional Goals. Support innovative institutional programs and strategies that… –Strive to eliminate achievement gaps for the identified underserved population, and –Significantly increase academic success, retention, and graduation rates for minority and low-income undergraduate students.

33 Project Compass. Systemic Goals. Support a learning community across funded institutions committed to… –Measurably improve academic outcomes for underrepresented students –Change institutional policies and practices to sustain and expand funded efforts.

34 Project Compass Priorities. Primary priority… –Proposals focusing on underrepresented minority students; Related priorities… –Students from low-income backgrounds. –First generation college students

35 Project Compass. Theory of Change If institutions … develop programs and services systemically which result from the collaboration of leaders from campus stakeholder groups (including administrators, faculty, students, community members); develop programs and services systemically which result from the collaboration of leaders from campus stakeholder groups (including administrators, faculty, students, community members); examine local data and current literature on retention, and examine local data and current literature on retention, and align the implementation of new programs and services for underserved students with current campus policies, practices, and procedures that support academic success, align the implementation of new programs and services for underserved students with current campus policies, practices, and procedures that support academic success, then underserved students will experience higher levels of persistence and success.

36 The Project Compass Theory of Change… The initiative is also committed to fostering variety in the ways that participating institutions approach, develop, and implement retention projects for underserved students. As such, Project Compass is dedicated to building a learning community of institutions engaged in systems change to better support the retention and success of underserved students across New England.

37 Project Compass. Structure. Two part design… –Planning year 6 institutions funded at $100K for one year –Lyndon State College, Vermont –Eastern Connecticut State University –Western Connecticut State University –University of Massachusetts, Boston –University of Maine at Presque Isle –Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts –Implementation years 3-6 institutions to be funded at $ K per year for four years

38 Project Compass. Planning Year Goals. Planning year aimed at helping institutions to… –assess their needs –build their internal capacity for addressing these needs, and –engage in structured planning and program development in the form of a proposal for continued support from the Foundation;

39 Project Compass. Planning Year Outcomes Planning year outcomes… –Institutional portfolio including final proposal to the Foundation for implementation funding; and, –Proposals for four-year implementation grants of $100,000 to $200,000 annually to institutions making adequate progress and demonstrating adequate institutional commitment during the planning year

40 Project Compass. Planning Year Supports. Technical assistance Learning community meetings –In person –Virtual

41 Project Compass. Structure: Implementation Implementation Phase… –3-6 institutional awards from $100,000- $200,000 annually for four years –Focused on strategic interventions resulting from planning year deliberations –Ongoing technical assistance –Learning Community meetings

42 Project Compass Priorities. Features of funded institutions… 1) Demonstrate a level of readiness to improve retention and graduation rates of minority students, first-generation college students and those from low-income backgrounds, and 2) Are prepared to undergo broad-based, structural change in order to develop the means to sustain and expand these efforts beyond the grant period.

43 Planning Year. Requirements. Funded institutions are required to: –Organize cross-institutional communities of practice –Conduct a series of 6-8 all day meetings, including one 2-day planning retreat –Send communities of practice to two Project Compass learning community meetings –Develop an institutional learning portfolio

44 Planning Year Requirements. Institutional Portfolio. Planning year plan Literature review Survey of data Proceedings from learning community meetings Proposal for implementation Budget report

45 Learning from the Planning Year… Enforcing cross-functional structures such as a community of practice is critical to establishing systemic ownership of retention problems and the solutions which can help to resolve them

46 Learning from the Planning Year… Colleges and universities, like other complex organizations, respond conservatively to calls for systemic change. Without an external technical assistance entity that will challenge this conservatism, colleges will not change readily or systemically.

47 Learning from the Planning Year… Technical assistance should strongly facilitate input from students and representatives from the external communities which are most affected by the retention interventions the college is considering.

48 Learning from the Planning Year… Ongoing involvement of senior leadership is critical to integrating retention among the other institutional priorities.

49 Learning from the Planning Year… Without engagement of faculty— specifically in relation to curricular change—retention initiatives of the systemic scope intended by Project Compass are at risk for failure. Engagement of faculty, however, must acknowledge the complexity of the faculty reward structure and union contracts at any institution.

50 Learning from the Planning Year… Professional and faculty development, including that provided by technical assistance entities, must be strategic to the specific retention initiatives that are proposed.

51 Learning from the Planning Year… As colleges develop the systemic focus of their retention initiatives, it is important to engage the state and federal policy frameworks which facilitate and impinge on the implementation of innovative practices increases.

52 Learning from the Planning Year… The creation of a learning community creates a set of peer campuses that serve as a resource for the project and individual campuses.

53 Learning from the Planning Year… Colleges and universities have varying capacities for data collection and analysis, given accountability pressures from a external entities. Colleges need support selecting data from the various data collection efforts in which they already participate. The challenges of articulating specific, realistic, measurable outcomes requires outside assistance.

54 Learning from the Planning Year… Retention initiatives focus on critical junctures of the student experience: recruitment/admissions; transition from support structures; first year experience; movement into the major.

55 For additional information… Project Website: Funded planning year campus activities Funded planning year campus activities Searchable database on retention Searchable database on retention Project Director: Glenn Gabbard New England Resource Center for Higher Education University of Massachusetts Boston 100 Morrissey Boulevard Boston MA Phone: FAX:


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