Did you know that lots of folks here at Civitas Learning actually come from education backgrounds? That’s right – our teams include former teachers, former (or even current) professors, former advisors, career counselors, and administrators.
I say that because it makes what I’m about to say super obvious: we understand the challenges you face and we want to help your institutions and, more specifically, your students succeed. We always have. For many of us, it’s our life’s work.
With guidance from our partner institutions, we’re always exploring ways to improve here at Civitas Learning. I’m delighted to share 5 of my favorite new features to help your team streamline their workflows and deepen their impact on student success.
1. Students Can Take the Lead in Their Academic Journey
Academic planning is hands down my favorite new feature of 2021 because it directly helps students create a comprehensive plan to reach their goals. Never before have students been able to map out their entire academic journey with such specificity, including: courses (which can be mapped against an audit), plans for internships, placeholders for a requirement type, plans to join a student organization—all in one place. Not to mention, all of this is visible to the student’s institutional support network with opportunities for two-way collaboration—ensuring students have what they need to be successful in their journey.
2. Advisors Can Connect with Students Using Text Messages
I don’t know about you, but my email currently sits at over 15,000 unread messages. Full disclosure: a vast majority of these are spam. But it lets me make this point: we need more than one reliable way to reach students. Email has its benefits, but it’s not always as effective as we’d like it to be across student populations. So it makes good sense for our holistic advising software to let you send texts straight to students. And we now do just that!
Not only can advisors send students text messages directly from our advising solution (no personal cell phone number required!), but they can also store them like notes on a student’s profile, ensuring your team never misses documenting a meaningful interaction with a student. AND we keep text messages separate from emails because effective text messages should look and feel different than email. The software organizes your email and text messages in distinct inboxes to help your team send appropriate messages in each communication mode.
3. A More Complete View of Student Success Metrics for Administrators
While some student success software might require you to deploy either a persistence insight or a completion insight as a measure of student success, we acknowledge the importance of having both at your fingertips. Access to both types of insights – persistence and completion – provides a more complete, data-activated picture of a student’s overall success. This full picture gives your team the basis of meaningful engagement- the first step to a sustainable student success model.
Our team thinks about students like this:
Let’s not forget that these are based predominantly (and, if desired, exclusively) on engagement data, allowing you to hone in on changeable behaviors rather than using demographic data alone, which can perpetuate bias and systemic barriers to equity.
4. Build and Recommend Specific Academic Plans
We’ve taken our industry-leading scheduling solution one step further. We started by empowering students to build schedules that match their complex lives. Then we added user-friendly registration. Then came interactive course and non-course planning. It only made sense for the next step to allow your team to build and recommend specific plans. The ability to develop and recommend particular plans screams student success to me because it streamlines the planning process for both advisors and students.
I’m not only excited to introduce this new capability to you but also share that you can build and recommend specific academic plans using the intuitive interface that students, advisors, and administrators were already using. No matter how you choose to build a plan- create one, edit another, or make a template – this new feature uses all the same mechanics that are already familiar to your team.
5. An Even Better User Experience for Advising Teams
If someone trusts me enough to give me constructive criticism, that speaks volumes. That’s why I love customer feedback sessions. I love listening and learning about the specific challenges our partners are facing across the scope of their student success strategies. Often these concerns revolve around removing student barriers, especially to course enrollment.
That said, every once in a while, some minor nuisances pop up. The time little things like building a list from scratch in our platform takes can add up quickly- so, as partners in your students’ success, we aimed to tackle these nuisances. We’ve made it easy to upload student lists, even those built in other tools with our new static group upload capability. We also added the ability for users to hold multiple roles. This new feature allows student success professionals to be both a student and an advisor (or whatever combination of user roles they might need).
So there they are– my top 5. Want to share yours? Or maybe talk about your top five unsolved problems? Please don’t be shy: firstname.lastname@example.org is always open.