Lone Star College System: Fully Integrating a Student Success Platform


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The Lone Star College (LSC) System serves approximately 85,000 students, many part- time, many working adult and a surprisingly large population of very young learners, including an expanding high school dual enrollment cohort.

Of the six colleges, some have seen explosive growth in enrollment – up to 35 percent in recent years – while others have seen declines. Though LSC operates as a System, each college sets their own strategic goals and objectives in order to meet the diverse needs of their specific student populations.

What Chancellor Steve Head needed was a clear view into the current and future state of the institution and the unique students they serve, so that he could empower all of his teams, across all of the campuses, to act with precision and make the most of their time, energy and resources. To gain confident understanding of what is really having an impact and where the greatest opportunities for improvement are, he has turned to analytics — predictive and prescriptive analytics.

This is leading to deeper learnings as teams across the System listen to the data and take action against it on the front lines in the shared goal to help students reach their career and life aspirations. Chancellor Head partnered with Civitas Learning with a view to power his System with precision analytics via a fully- integrated Student Success Platform.

Collaborative Working Teams Gain Insights & Take Action

In the last year, Lone Star College rolled out use of Illume® and the Student Insights Engine™, which unifies the System’s disparate data to render personalized predictions that are timely, accurate and actionable.

Illume enables LSC to confidently act on precise, nuanced insights about the efficacy of their student success initiatives, and to measure the impact of their actions. This clear-eyed, iterative work is foundational to honing and scaling innovation in student success. Illume’s user-friendly dashboard presents each college with Powerful Predictors for persistence, which vary greatly by campus, given the uniqueness of each of the System’s colleges. Watch this video to see how they are drilling into the predictions to help students like the one you’ll see here:

Personalizing Outreach to Reach Strategic Goals

One way Chavez is using Illume is to measure initiatives to increase full-time enrollment. “We knew we wanted to try to move more students from part- time to full-time as part of the College’s Zero to Sixty Initiative. LSC has seen that students who can take more hours benefit from it in the way of term-to- term persistence and completion.  The working team wanted to explore the power of positive nudges, and used the Student Lists feature in Illume to personalize outreach by sending an email from VP Chavez to each student in the segment they selected. Using prediction-based propensity score matching, teams at Civitas and LSC measured a statistically significant 2.7 percentage point increase in full-time registration for the non-FTIC part-time students nudged occurred as a result of the campaign. Knowing which campaigns and initiatives are working, and for whom is now possible through Illume Impact, which allows leaders to allocate resources with confidence.

“We’ve had a strong drive to try to get the students who can do it to enroll full- time,” said Chavez. It’s paying off for LSC- Montgomery, who had 480 FT students in Fall 2015 and 628 in Fall 2016.

Faculty & Advisors Using Data on the Front Lines

The System moved from insights to broader action on the front lines and rolled out Inspire® for Faculty and Inspire® for Advisors.

Inspire for Advisors, which gives advisors a better view into the key factors of persistence so they can prioritize outreach to at-risk students. “We came up with five key student segments that comprise the majority of our students,” said Miner. “It helped focus the work as we introduced these segments into our college’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We’ve identified key pieces of critical information or content to support the success of each of these five student segments. This gives our campuses the ability to ensure each group is getting the right communication, while also allowing for customization in that outreach by each college.”

The Civitas Learning team then incorporated the five segments into LSC’s instance of Inspire for Advisors as custom filters which allow for quick sorting by advisors refining their workflows, lightening the impact of their caseloads and allowing for the right outreach to the right students.

“Students are puzzles. It was like trying to put together a puzzle without the photo on the box. Inspire for Advisors is like having the picture on the box.”
– Karen Miner, Director of Student Success Initiatives

Leading in the Age of Analytics

Integrating the Student Success Platform helps ensure that LSC is plugged into the innovations that are making a positive difference across multiple departments in each of their colleges. They are using the Student Success Platform (SSP) to do deep learning about their students’ characteristics and behaviors to better understand what impact they are having. This empowers them to create and deliver outreach to keep students on the path to completion or transfer.

As LSC was building out their SSP, Chancellor Head realized with a system as large and diverse as LSC, he needed to also build out a broader set of leaders who understood how to look, learn and lead with analytics to make the most of the opportunities for change, both now and in the future.

He enrolled Lone Star College as the founding institution in Civitas Learning’s Next Generation Leadership Academy to ensure LSC would be future-ready. The Next Generation Leadership Academy (NGLA) is designed as a year-long program that brings 20-30 rising leaders at an institution together to ground them in the issues, innovation and insights of today and prepare them to drive change tomorrow.


Learn how the Lone Star College System integrated a scalable infrastructure and built cross-functional teams to be able to act on data-informed insights, scale innovations and assess impact from their initiatives to improve student outcomes.


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