Jamie P. Merisotis is president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, a foundation committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college.
On November 10th, Jamie P. Merisotis spoke at AGB's workshop on "Strengthening Board Committees" about the important role boards can play in helping meet Goal 2025—ensuring that by the year 2025, 60% of Americans hold a college degree, certificate, or other high-quality postsecondary credential.
Below are three tips Merisotis offered to boards on how they can help pursue a student success agenda and help meet Goal 2025 on their campuses.
- No. 1: Reallocate and reinvest in student success: As a trustee, I believe it is your duty to help your institution analyze its spending, gather evidence about the practices and policies that actually increase student success, and use that evidence to eliminate unnecessary outlays so the savings can be applied where it matters most: in helping more students graduate with high-quality degrees and credentials. Your role here is absolutely central. Yes, these decisions are difficult … and they're becoming more difficult each year. And if you’re meeting your responsibilities, you will almost certainly at times be at odds with your institution’s leaders. But again, remember that you’re there to serve the student.
- No. 2: Educate in new ways and places: Today’s students are an infinitely diverse lot—all ages, all income levels, all races and ethnicities, with myriad life experiences that present them with an array of challenges. Colleges and universities must change to help these 21st century students meet and overcome those challenges. We must educate these students in innovative and affordable ways, not merely perpetuate the traditional, "we've always done it this way" setting. As a trustee, it’s your job to ensure that your institution employs new models that are nimble enough to respond to the needs of all students.
- No. 3: Pay attention to results: As a trustee, you must ensure that attention—and resources—continue to be focused on helping students stay in school and complete their programs. Graduation rates matter, and so do dropout rates—especially for the populations who are not well-served. Reducing time to degree matters, too. All faculty and staff must share the responsibility for student completion. Institutions should be able to demonstrate clear plans for how students can earn high-quality credentials in a timely and cost-effective way.