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Automation: Moving Communication Management Into the 21st-Century

Until this past year, much of the advising and communications work completed in the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies was performed through a myriad of spreadsheets maintained independently by various offices (admissions, academic affairs, department advising). Each office updated its own spreadsheets and used these to communicate with students…

Navigating the Bureaucracy of Higher Education: How Processes Impair Persistence for Adults

Bureaucracy: “A system that has many complicated rules and ways of doing things (Merriam-Webster); A system of administration distinguished by written and inflexible rules, regulations and procedures (Business Dictionary.com).” Colleges and universities work hard to provide a supportive academic community that fosters student success, but they often miss their mark…

AUDIO | Efficiency Through Technology Central to Operational Excellence

The following interview is with Diana Wu, dean of the UC Berkeley Extension and executive director of the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education. Despite shrinking operational budgets for higher education institutions, they’re being forced to compete against rising numbers of competitors all working to improve their product and provide…

Efficiency: The Secret Top Schools Already Know

For a long time, efficiency was seen as an enemy of the Academy. Lurking in the shadows and threatening to take away from rigor and performance, efficiency was all but avoided at top institutions. But it’s no secret that the business model of higher ed is changing, and as a…

AUDIO | Demand for Efficiency Gives Institutions Leg Up in Marketplace

The following interview is with Robert Wensveen, associate director of continuing education at the University of Calgary. Since their inception, continuing education (CE) units have navigated the challenges of providing high-quality programs and services on a limited budget to a constantly changing marketplace. This is a challenge main campuses are…

Translating Operational Efficiency to Student Benefits

Does “efficiency” matter in higher education? If we consider what currently challenges American higher education — rising tuition rates, growing student debt, declining enrollment —  I believe it does. But efficiency is meaningless to students if they don’t see or experience the benefits directly. In other words, as institutions work…

AUDIO | Student Experience and Efficiency Go Hand-in-Hand

The following interview is with Marie Cini, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and a member of the Online Learning Consortium’s board of directors. UMUC has been working in recent years to develop innovative approaches to the online learning marketplace…

Just-In-Time Technology: Improving Retention and Success of “New Traditionals”

—Co-Written with Darcy Janzen | E-Learning Support Manager, University of Washington Tacoma— Just In Time. Famous words of the time-stressed, over-committed adult learner that now makes up more than 38 percent of the college-going population (according to a recent Student Clearinghouse report). Whether in assignments, courses, financial aid or getting…

AUDIO | Back-End Automation Leads to Better Student Service and Institutional Savings

The following interview is with Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips, provost emerita of Arizona State University (ASU). Phillips spearheaded the development and implementation of the eAdvisor system, which revolutionized student advising at the university. In this interview, she discusses the value the eAdvisor system has had in improving the level of service…

Scalability and Distance Ed: What Main Campus Leaders Can Learn From Their Colleagues in the Cloud

The idea of operational efficiency in higher education is interesting. One could argue that higher education institutions were never set up to be efficient, but were set up to be educationally effective. This, of course, is setting aside the facilities aspects of higher education and strictly looking at the educational…

How to Become the University of Choice for Veteran Students

As the face of academia changes with the increase of student veterans returning to school, institutions face a challenge that was last addressed after World War II. How can an institution ensure the success of both their traditional and non-traditional students? While there are certainly a multitude of answers to…

Three Steps to Improving Student Persistence through High-Touch Strategies

Keeping students on track to graduation is a key strategic performance metric for postsecondary institutions, and as many of us know, persistence is not easily achieved under the best circumstances. Further, many institutions are seeking a marginal change that will ensure graduation rates of 50 percent or more. Applying one-to-one,…

10 Ways To Help Your Online Students Feel at Home With Your Institution

The good news is that about 7 million college students will enroll in online courses this year. The bad news is that the retention rates for online students typically trail those of their on-campus colleagues.[1] There is evidence that stronger student support services — especially targeting the out-of-class experiences of…

Relationships = Retention: Embracing Non-Traditional Students on College Campuses (Part 2)

This is the conclusion of a two-part series by Devora Shamah on how institutions can better serve non-traditional students returning to higher education after stopping out of high school. In the first piece, she outlined some of the reasons why adults will return to higher education after dropping out of…

AUDIO | Addressing the Biggest Barriers to Education for America’s Rural Adults

The following interview is with Esther Prins, as associate professor at the Penn State College of Education and co-director of the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy and Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy. Prins, along with colleagues Cathy Kassab and Kimeka Campbell, recently conducted a study exploring…

Relationships = Retention: Embracing Non-Traditional Students on College Campuses (Part 1)

Look around a typical college and you will see a great diversity of students working toward their postsecondary credentials and degrees. While some campuses still predominately serve students who have come directly from high school with the goal of completing college educations before entering the workforce and focusing on family…

Online Learning Doesn’t Have to Be Isolating: Exploring the Mentoring Model

When I mention that I work for Western Governors University (WGU), an online university, many people tell me, “I tried that once but I just didn’t have the self-discipline.” Their experience with online learning included little beyondlogin information and a final deadline. Luckily, online education is progressing dramatically. By re-thinking…

AUDIO | Look in the Mirror to Improve Higher Ed for First-Generation Students

The following interview is with Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Throughout his career, Hrabowski has been a leader in creating postsecondary opportunities for underserved student populations and supporting their success through higher education. For example, Hrabowski pioneered UMBC’s highly successful Meyerhoff Scholars Program,…

AUDIO | Adapting to Serve Inner-City Students

The following interview is with Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout her career, Gasman has focused on higher education for underserved and minority groups. Much has been written over the past few years about the importance of creating more access…

Overcoming Four Key Challenges to Rural Student Postsecondary Success

Success can indeed be found at the top of a hill, especially if you prepare for the challenge and have a positive outlook. That’s what one young woman discovered on a trip through the rolling hills of Appalachia. As she traveled with a vanload of high school classmates on her…

How to Shape Services to Match Student Needs

Online learning can feel like a long trip through a lonely desert, even in the best-designed online classes. Support services are usually available, but adjusting to a virtual services structure can be daunting for those new to the world of digitized instruction. All institutions provide infrastructure support and wraparound services,…

Adults and the Higher Education Experience (Part 2)

The following is the conclusion of The EvoLLLution’s two-part email Q&A with Melora Sundt, executive vice dean and clinical education professor at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. In the first installment, Sundt discussed how the social learning experience that comes with the on-campus, face-to-face approach to…

AUDIO | Predictive Analytics Support Success Among At-Risk Student Populations (Part 2)

This is the conclusion of a two-part series by Timothy Renick discussing Georgia State University’s Graduate and Progression Success (GPS) program and its impact on at-risk, non-traditional students. In the first installment, Renick provided background on the program and the necessity of predictive analytics for student success. In this article,…

AUDIO | Turning the Focus from Enrollment to Retention

The following interview is with Joni Finney, director of the Institute for Research in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Finney is an expert on the rapidly-changing postsecondary space. She recently shared her thoughts on…

AUDIO | Predictive Analytics Support Success among At-Risk Student Populations (Part 1)

The following interview is with Tim Renick, vice provost and chief enrollment officer at Georgia State University. Renick spearheaded the adoption of a predictive analytics system at Georgia State aimed at improving retention and completion rates among at-risk, underserved student populations. In this first part of a two-part interview, Renick…

Adults and the Higher Ed Experience (Part 1)

The following is the first of a two-part email Q&A with Melora Sundt, executive vice dean and clinical education professor at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. Online education is regularly seen as the ideal option for adults looking to return to higher education; it’s flexible to…

AUDIO | Supporting Low-Income Students: Strategies for Retention and Success

The following is the conclusion of a two-part interview with Ben Castleman, assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia. Castleman has done a great deal of research on the summer melt phenomenon, and recently published research exploring a few strategies higher education institutions could put…

Revolutionizing Student Advising, Tracking and Intervention

Individual student advising can be improved by the use of data mining and analytics. At Arizona State University (ASU), we developed eAdvisor, a system that requires students to take courses that diagnose likelihood of success in a major early-on so struggling students can be rapidly redirected into a major where…

Understanding and Serving the Lifelong Learner (Part 2)

This is the conclusion of a two-part series by Richard Gentle discussing the importance of understanding and serving non-traditional, lifelong learners in the postsecondary space. In the first part, Gentle discussed some of the characteristics of non-traditional students and shared his thoughts on the challenges of the MOOC (Massive Open…

AUDIO | Supporting Low-Income Students: Challenges to Retention

The following is the first installment of a two-part interview with Ben Castleman, assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia. Castleman has done extensive research on the “summer melt” phenomenon, and recently published a paper exploring a few strategies higher education institutions could put in…

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