Focus on holistic student support raises retention and closes achievement gaps
AUSTIN, TX (June 11, 2019) — Austin Community College (ACC), one of the largest community colleges in the United States, today announced results from a multi-year campaign to improve student success through an institution-wide redesign of its student services focused on the needs of its highly-diverse student population.
The new initiative, called Guided Pathways Advising through Coaching, combined a redesign of the institution’s degree pathways, new tools to help students stay on track to graduation, and the development of a holistic student coaching program. As a result of this new initiative, the college has achieved a 4 percentage point gain in the retention of first-time students and a 6 point gain among first-time Hispanic male students. Analysis conducted by ACC using predictive propensity score matching (PPSM) also shows a 15.5 percentage point increase on next term retention.
A signature component of ACC’s transformation was moving from a traditional academic advising model toward a more developmental coaching approach to student support. Now, advisors proactively work with students on a range of issues, from financial and personal wellness to time management and career readiness. ACC has also enhanced academic support and expanded the safety net for students facing financial, housing and food insecurity. This has proven crucial for the half of ACC students who support their families while in school, and more than a third who struggle with food insecurity.
“The improvements we’ve seen in student outcomes are a powerful testament to the importance of supporting our students in ways that enable them to thrive in the classroom and as parents, professionals and community members,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, President and CEO of Austin Community College.
As part of its redesign process, ACC partnered with student success experts from InsideTrack to develop a comprehensive student coaching methodology tailored to ACC students, train advising staff and put in place ongoing professional development and quality assurance programs. According to Dr. Virginia Fraire, Vice President for Student Affairs at ACC, “Partnering with InsideTrack greatly accelerated our progress in building the capabilities and culture required to provide outstanding student support.”
Mike Embry, Associate Vice President of Partner Success at InsideTrack, who oversaw the partnership with ACC credits the institution’s leadership culture for their success. “So many institutions focus on whether or not incoming students are ‘college ready’,” says Embry. “ACC’s leaders view it as their responsibility to build an institution that is ‘student ready’ and aren’t afraid to have the tough conversations and do the hard work to make that a reality.”
More information about ACC’s student success programs can be found in their annual Student Success Report.
About Austin Community College
Austin Community College is a nationally recognized two-year college. ACC serves Central Texas as the primary gateway to higher education and technical training. ACC’s mission is to provide open door access to an affordable college education for those who want to earn a degree, learn a marketable skill, and advance their careers. Learn more at www.austincc.edu
InsideTrack is passionate about student success. Since 2001, we have been dedicated to partnering with colleges and universities to create adaptive student success solutions that generate measurable results. These solutions combine student coaching, staff training, technology, and data analytics to increase enrollment, completion, and career readiness. Our adaptive coaching methodology is based on the latest behavioral science research and knowledge gained from working with more than 2 million students and currently serving more than 4,000 programs. In combination with our uCoach® Platform, our approach optimizes student engagement and generates valuable insights on the student experience through predictive modeling, behavioral analysis, and multichannel communication. InsideTrack is a member of the nonprofit Strada Education Network. Join us and the leading institutions, foundations, and others working to bring the transformative power of education to all individuals. Visit us at www.insidetrack.com and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.