Portfolio of Initiatives: An Institutional Model for Implementing Student Success Initiatives

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Graduating more students and increasing the quality of their learning are national priorities and Oregon is implementing 40-40-20 to improve student attainment. Due to demographic shifts, institutions must maintain institutional quality and reputation by building capacity to successfully serve an increasing numbers of first-generation and under-represented students. Educational institutions that fail to develop the capacity to serve a diverse student body, with varying ability, will face existential challenges.

Research has shown that institutions can surpass the limits set by institutional resources and students’ backgrounds by engaging students in high quality learning experiences, organized around clearly articulated learning outcomes, supported by high-impact practices, and project redesign using assessment of student learning and program effectiveness.

While there is significant research on factors that have an impact on student success, there are few models that outline how institutions can successfully implement student success initiative. Retention efforts are also distributed across the schools and colleges. This typically results in an institution developing a patchwork of programs, which are not effectively coordinated, where success of one program is negated by the actions of another project on campus, resulting in little or no progress in improving student success.

Case Study: At Portland State University we have implemented a Portfolio-of-Initiatives framework, developed by McKinsey and Company, to develop strategy, and manage implementation. Using a Portfolio-of-Initiatives approach has required us to focus on:
• A disciplined search for a variety of initiatives with the highest possibility of success.
• Rigorous monitoring of projects and sub-projects, with a focus on action.
• Supporting the champions.
• Scaling up successful ideas and projects and winding down unsuccessful projects and changing course when needed.

Portfolio-of Initiatives includes projects that aim to: improve effectiveness of existing academic policies and services; support early identification of students at risk; intentional advising and charting a pathway to degree completion; improve communication; address academic needs of students with a High School GPA below 3.0; address financial concerns; ease transition to college using peer mentoring; improve persistence of Freshmen living in residence halls; make student success data available at unit level; reduce the number of courses with preponderance (20%) of D, W, F grades; manage capacity of programs and course offerings for timely progress to graduation.

Summary: This session will focus on the theory and practice of developing institutional student success initiatives. We will offer Portfolio-of-Initiative implemented at Portland State University as a case study for the participants.

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Portfolio of Initiatives: An Institutional Model for Implementing Student Success Initiatives

  1. 1. Portfolio of Initiatives: An Institutional Model forImplementing Student Success Initiatives Sukhwant Jhaj, Dan Fortmiler, Ella Peterson
  2. 2. Portland State University• PSU offers 60 undergraduate and 40 graduate programs.• PSU offers more than 226 bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.Enrollment 2011-2012 (Fall 2011)• Total: 29,703• Undergraduate: 23,222• Graduate: 6,481• Full time: 58.3 percent• Part time: 41.7 percent
  3. 3. How does one develop strategy in a dynamic environment?
  4. 4. Institutional ContextBackground / History First Steps for Student Success and Retention Committee AACRAO ConsultantsPresident Wiewel’s Blueprint 1. Provide Civic Leadership Through Partnerships 2. Improve Student Success 3. Achieve Global Excellence 4. Enhance Educational Opportunity 5. Expand Resources and Improve Effectiveness
  5. 5. External ContextDynamic Environment Declining resources Lack of funding Governance issues Relationship with the state Leadership changes set relationship with external audience The Language of “performance” used to imagine higher-ed Performance compact Delta Project School comparator tool Competitive landscape Alternatives to traditional 4-year university
  6. 6. What is Portfolio of Initiatives?Created by Lowell Bryan to Develop strategy in a dynamic and unpredictable environmentElements:Rigorous Search Initiatives with the highest possibility of success Diagnosis and designFocus on action Testing through experimentation Just in time implementationSupport champions Importance of passionate advocatesFlexibility Scale up successful projects, Winding down unsuccessful projects Changing course when needed
  7. 7. Accessing Success• Well defined measures• Balanced score card approach• Creating a culture of assessment and review – Projects fail not people• Example: Prescriptive Degree Maps
  8. 8. Evolving Assessment StructurePrior Learning End of Year E-PortfolioSurvey Survey Assessment--Student background --Course evaluation --Student learning re:characteristics --Academic Plans UNST goals--Student rating of --Satisfactionacademic skills--Student current lifesituation
  9. 9. Evolving Assessment StructurePrior Learning End of Year E-PortfolioSurvey Survey Assessment University Student Data Warehouse - Student Retention - Academic Performance, Fin. Aid
  10. 10. Student Success Academic Preparedness and Plan Student Success Well BeingConnectedness
  11. 11. Student Success Portfolio of Initiatives •Assess the Effectiveness of Existing •Address Students’ Financial Concerns Policies, Procedures, and Services. (admissions req./process, application deadline, bursars •¡Exito! Latino student success hold) •Easing the transition to college using Peer •Support Early Identification of Students at Mentoring Risk •Improve the Persistence of Freshmen Living •Intentional Advising and Charting a Pathway on Campus to Degree Completion •(Last Mile Committee, degree maps, degree map mile stone tracking, unified advising •Make Student Success Data Available at Unit records) Level •Improve Communication with Students •Reduce Courses with Preponderance (20%) of D, W, F, I, X, NP Grades •Student Success Center (long term goal) •Manage Capacity of Programs and Course Offerings •Address Needs of Students Entering PSU with a High School GPA below 3.0
  12. 12. Intentional Advising• Intentional advising background and history• Success supported by research• Intentional Advising supported by – Unified advising records, – Prescriptive degree maps, and – Degree map milestones tracking – Last Mile Committee – Fall Registration Project
  13. 13. Project: Prescriptive Degree Maps• Rigorous Search – Addition of new academic advisors + Research – Support by provost, Advising Council, faculty• Focus on action – Testing through experimentation (pilot project) – Embedding degree maps in PSU’s processes• Support champions – Excellent leadership team• Flexibility – Use in curricular efficiency – Changing the project direction as a result of tech challenges
  14. 14. Project: Prescriptive Degree MapsReview HandoutAvailable online at:http://jhaj.wordpress.com/retention-initiatives/retention-initiative-3/prescriptive-degree-maps/
  15. 15. Thank you! Any questions? For more informationor a copy of this presentation visit: http://jhaj.wordpress.com Sukhwant Jhaj, Dan Fortmiler, Ella Peterson

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