Learning Together at our Austin Leadership Summit


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To kick off our work together in 2020, our annual customer convention was sold out in Austin. This program has become so popular that we decided to take it on the road — and meet our community in their neck of the woods. We started Austin, but we’re headed to California and Washington, D.C. later this year. We’ve hosted these annual events for nearly a decade, gathering presidents, provosts, vice presidents, and student success champions for critical conversations on how we improve outcomes and experiences for our students.

This year, we anchored much of our conversation on David Epstein’s powerful book, Range. In it, he says:

“The most successful problem solvers spend mental energy figuring out what type of problem they are facing before matching a strategy to it, rather than jumping in with memorized procedures.”

Throughout that chilly February day in Austin, it was clear that our customer community is doing just that. Together, we’re leaning in to understand the problem and challenge. Then — we find the right path forward for our students today instead of anchoring the work in what work previously for someone else, somewhere else.

And, that’s why we’re helping more students now than ever before. Here are a few examples that stood out:

  • Lone Star College – University Park shared that their bold steps to use data to create a culture of inquiry, meet students where they are, and shift course sequencing led to international recognition. They also increased their FTIC graduation rate from 16% to 21.3%.
  • Utah State University explored previously unseen equity gaps across their institution. Vulnerable students were being served less often by advisors because they were not responding to outreach. So the USU team used analytics to inform and catalyze targeted student outreach — and they worked to help advisors return to the central tenets of advising. As a result, they saw a 1.9% pp bump in year-on-year persistence by focusing on equity.
  • McNeese State University reflected on how their institution is focusing on building capacity with their staff and faculty. While they joined the Civitas family in Fall 2019, they’re preparing for launch later this spring and aligning their work to their accreditation plan.
  • Monroe Community College discussed challenges with changing student populations and competing internal interests. But, by establishing for quick wins and building consensus, they’re measuring what works for their students. They now know the impact of programs like their tutoring center and scholarship program nudging campaigns.

Every institution is on a different part of their journey, although it’s clear that they’re each taking a closer look at what their campus needs and then building the strategy that works best for them.

We’re still Learning Together.™

Since we began this work nearly ten years ago, we knew that it was important to not only learn from our data, but also from each other. That’s the power of the Civitas. Even though we only had one day to connect as a community in the Austin Public Library, we’re working to create more opportunities share learnings (and successes!) from the challenges we face.

We’ll continue to do that here on our blog, and we also have the Civitas Hub for our customers to connect with each other directly. We invite you to join our discussion on the Civitas Hub (must be a Civitas Learning institution) or to start your own thread!


Meet us on the road later this year in California or Washington, D.C.


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