Connecting the Florida Civitas: Highlights from the Partner Regional Workshop


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Higher education professionals from across Florida recently met for two days to network and plan for student support and initiatives. Representatives from Daytona State College, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Florida International University (FIU), Saint Leo University, as well as Civitas Learning team members, were hosted by the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. The first day of the workshop focused on partners networking with and learning from one another. The participating schools presented on different successes and outcomes using Civitas Learning solutions. These ranged from gaining insight into a new at-risk student group, to running a nudge campaign, to strategies for driving successful tool adoption and change management.
Sharing the Impact of Outcomes and Insights
Daytona State implemented a nudge campaign for about 9,000 unenrolled students encouraging them to register. Not only did they achieve a 40% open rate by the end of the first week, but as a result of the campaign, 18% of the targeted students met with an advisor after receiving the communications and 20% had registered for a future term at the time of the workshop. Another nudging initiative shared was FIU’s campaign for successful part-time, online learners, that encouraged them to take one more course. FAU talked about their work with Impact, which they used to determine if and how students benefit from their “Major KnOWLedge” online resource for career planning. The resulting data—showing an overall increase of eight percentage points in the persistence of participating students—is being used to improve services to subpopulations of students for whom the career planning support is most beneficial. It is also being used to help academic leaders across the institution understand how Impact can support ongoing improvement efforts. In addition, both St. Petersburg and USF shared stories around the processes they are using to integrate Inspire into their advisors’ day-to-day work and to increase and ensure adoption of the product by staff working to support students.
Identifying Students in Need
On the second day of the workshop, teams from the participating institutions came together to develop a nudge campaign for a high priority student group. USF developed a campaign to engage their undergraduate, degree-seeking male students, for example, and several worked on campaigns targeting online students. The teams started their campaign planning by diving into Illume to learn more about their priority student group. Working with a Civitas Learning facilitator, each group pursued answers to questions such as:
  • What is the expected persistence of the student group?
  • How does their expected persistence differ from similar students?
  • What do the Powerful Predictors tell us about how to close the gap between the targeted group and other similar students who are persisting at higher rates?
  • How many students in the group are in the Very Low, Low, and Moderate persistence “buckets” in Illume?
Applying Strategy for Precise Outreach
After finding opportunities for increasing persistence for their student groups, teams spent time evaluating their communication strategy with this group across the term and selecting important points for engagement. Then, using this data, each group crafted an aligned nudge campaign aimed at supporting the right student, at the right time, with the right message (and that allocates institutional resources to the students most in need). The work completed by participants was guided by The Loss-Momentum Framework (developed by Completion by Design). Teams identified key student-institution engagement points and described what those look like when they create or decrease momentum toward a student’s degree. Students’ desired attitudes and behaviors were explored, and messages were designed to impact a students’ mindset or belief that they matter to the institution. The goal was to assure that key student-institution engagements encourage students to continue with their education and, if not, to shift the students’ beliefs about these experiences from negative to positive. The goal of the campaigns was to nudge the students toward the desired behaviors specific to the identified engagement point by affecting the students’ attitudes about the experience.
Turning Insight to Action
Each team left the workshop with detailed information about a key student group that is not persisting at a rate as high as their peers at their institution, a communication plan informed by the Powerful Predictors for the student group, and a well-written first nudge. They returned to their institutions with a replicable process for designing sophisticated nudge campaigns grounded in educational theory and the campus’ unique students’ data, and a PowerPoint presentation to be used to share their completed work with their colleagues that will generate campus-wide interest in nudging students to success.

Dr. Lori McNabb, Senior Product Training Consultant

Lori McNabb is a member of the Education and Outcome Services team at Civitas Learning, where she designs and delivers trainings and workshops that support partner schools’ use of Civitas solutions. Lori has almost 20 years of experience higher education in leadership positions at the University of Texas System, The University of Texas at Austin, and St. Edward’s University.

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