Getting students to the finish line. In recent years, many higher education institutions have doubled down on their efforts to help students succeed academically and obtain a college credential. Many are collecting volumes of data about student performance and analyzing that information at a granular level to identify students who may be at risk, prompting interventions when they might have optimal impact. They are bolstering freshman seminars and other programs to orient students toward success. They are offering more advising for students, both about their academic paths and their current goals, as well as providing more opportunities for tutoring.
As part of these efforts, the following trends are emerging.
- Many institutions are helping faculty become better advisers and hiring additional staff whose main focus is student advising.
- Institutions used to serving 18-to-22-year-olds are finding that adult students need rather different services, such as daycare for their children and access to a bookstore, financial-aid counseling, or consultations with faculty members after normal business hours.
- Colleges and universities are experimenting with competency-based education and alternative forms of credentialing, which represent different way to move students through the educational pipeline more efficiently and economically.
After all, the heart of the mission of a college or a university is to support student learning.