I am more convinced than ever that governance, leadership, and partnerships are essential if the academy is to make substantive and sustainable progress in enhancing student success and furthering college completion.
Board members and institutional leaders must foster collaborative partnerships with state officials and policy makers to reach consensus about priorities for higher education and the metrics used to measure success. These partnerships, ideally, allow all parties to understand the state’s or region’s workforce development needs and the institution’s or system’s capacity to provide high-quality degrees and credentials to students.
At all costs, a one size fits all approach for student learning and institutional outcomes should be avoided! Instead, leaders must communicate their strategic plans and priorities to develop the momentum and infrastructure needed to support college completion within the state.
Secondly, faculty and institutional leaders must reach consensus about the importance of teaching and student success. The board and administrators must be willing to invest in robust faculty development programs, redesigned gateway courses, and other programs that move the needle of college completion. There must be universal acknowledgement that our students (both current and prospective) need us to do everything we can within our respective roles to enhance their educational experiences.
At the end of the day, we need graduates who possess high-quality credentials with value in their fields of study and in the workforce if America is to remain economically competitive and responsive to the needs of our fellow citizens.