The Appalachian College Association (ACA) and Credo are pleased to announce the launch of a partnership to improve student outcomes across ACA member institutions. Building on the rich collaborative expertise of the ACA and the proven results of Credo’s Moving the Needle project, small cohorts of colleges and universities will engage in deep institutional change to strengthen their capacity to support students from matriculation to graduation. These cohorts of ACA schools will research their challenges and opportunities regarding student retention, identify the most promising areas for impact on student outcomes, and implement proven strategies for success. The ultimate results of this collaboration are expected to be improved retention rates and a corresponding increase in institutional net revenue.
Why Student Success?
Retention of students is a critical concern for ACA campuses who enroll a significant number of first generation, rural, and low-income students. From the colleges’ perspective, student retention is both mission-central and a matter of financial resilience. From students’ perspective, retention/success to graduation is critical for achieving life goals, for successful engagement in the labor market and beyond. And in the Appalachian communities where students are from, having an educated workforce is increasingly critical for the region’s long- term economic resilience.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Collaboration Launch
The Founding Student Success Collaboration will begin in the Fall of 2020. The effects and implications of the global pandemic were emerging as we launched the application process for a formalized first cohort. The work of ACA college and university leaders, and our work as partners to them, evolved rapidly in response to the demands of this time. Throughout, we have deeply appreciated their thoughtfulness about engaging in an effort such as this. We heard from some the challenge of a focus on strategic work beyond planning for an uncertain time; and we heard from many their excitement to be considered for a future cohort as we move through and beyond COVID-19.
ACA and Credo are steadfast in our commitment to provide all ACA member institutions with opportunities to engage in transformative student success work in the coming years, and we continue to build in greater and greater levels of flexibility to provide the highest levels of continuity.
The Founding Student Success Collaboration Institutions
As we all navigated the uncharted waters of COVID-19, two colleges and universities persisted in their desire to move forward into the strategic opportunity of Moving the Needle work, committing to deep engagement within their own organization and in shared learning with another campus partner. We are thrilled to announce that Bluefield College in Virginia and Carson-Newman University in Tennessee will lead the way in the development of this shared learning experience:
These first two institutions will research their challenges and opportunities regarding student retention, identify the most promising areas for impact on student outcomes, and implement proven strategies for success, both for their institutions and the region. The ultimate results of this collaboration are expected to be improved retention rates and a corresponding increase in institutional net revenue.
Now more than ever, the complex nature of student success requires a comprehensive, integrated, campus-wide plan with robust administrative support, strong belief in student potential, and shared implementation of targeted strategies. Credo’s Moving the Needle (MTN) project is the only campus/consultant partnership in the country that works to fundamentally reorient a campus culture around the success of its students, both in strategy and in practice.
For additional information, please contact ACA President Beth Rushing at beth.rushing (at) acaweb.org or Credo Senior Vice President / Owner Joretta Nelson.
Did you know you that Moving The Needle is available for individual institutions to increase student success and retention? One hundred percent of participating institutions realized increased retention rates and four-year graduation rates as a direct result of their MTN partnerships with Credo.
Modules are individualized for each campus, so each college and university gets a customized support structure to navigate the ever-changing waters of the future. Download our Moving The Needle Guide to get more information, or talk to a Credo Student Success to get your questions answered and start on your MTN journey.