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Solving Higher Ed’s Toughest Student Success Challenges with Will Ballard


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The changing shape of the economy presents unprecedented challenges for institutions as they move into the future. For the first time, higher education will need to weather downturns in both tuition and enrollment. This means it’s more important than ever before that institutions ensure each student graduates in scalable and financially sustainable ways.

Our mission at Civitas Learning is to empower higher education institutions to help students get through school as efficiently and effectively as possible. We can all agree that part of a degree and all of a student loan is not worth it. When there’s no economic waste, time waste, or earnings lost, both students and institutions win.

Civitas Learning provides actionable analytics and connected workflow tools that enable your institution to work together to ensure every student persistences toward on-time graduation. By unlocking meaningful insights and streamlining workflows, higher education can improve student outcomes in a highly efficient, financially sustainable, and student-centered way.

“We can all agree that part of a degree and all of a student loan is not worth it. When there’s no economic waste, time waste, or earnings lost, both students and institutions win.”

—Will Ballard,
CEO, Civitas Learning

3 Ways Civitas Learning Helps Higher Education Solve Its Toughest Challenges

Civitas Learning was founded to help colleges and universities translate their vast student data into actionable insights institutions need to help their students succeed. I’ve observed how access to actionable, institution-specific insights empowers our partners to enhance student success efforts by giving them the ability to:

Democratizing Information

Traditionally, just a few key administrators have had access to institutional data. Student success analytics and real-time insights into the impact of programs have been privileged information. This approach was meant to streamline operations, but what we see in practice is that it creates bottlenecks.  

Civitas Learning is changing this by democratizing data and integrating actionable insights into intelligent workflow tools that faculty and staff need daily. Designed for ease of use regardless of data literacy, our platform helps team members at every level transform data into actionable information that targets individual students. 

Teams are then empowered with the information and capabilities that really matter when it comes to being successful at their job and responding to the needs of students, thus improving their impact.  I’m incredibly proud that Civitas Learning is the only student success platform that allows leaders to quickly and easily assess the impact of policies, practices, and programs on student persistence toward graduation.

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Empowering Teams to Drive Successful Student Outcomes

When stakeholders across an institution can proactively see which students need support and statistically what programs are working, teams can tune and improve their initiatives to maximize outcomes. 

This is a significant win for institutional leadership, allowing them to be nimble and responsive instead of reactive. The ability to make real-time predictions and take action during the term, not afterward, can have life-changing positive impacts on individual students and their success in college. 

The Civitas Learning platform sets teams up to go beyond grades and academics to more deeply examine student engagement. This is key in intervening with students before they experience a negative outcome, such as dropping a course, that might impact their persistence. Making those predictions in real time equates to a better use of resources and a higher ROI for institutions.

Precise Strategic Decision-Making

Higher education institutions at all levels can become victims of inertia, doing what they’ve always done because that’s the way it’s always been. 

Evolving circumstances are forcing institutions to do away with this old one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, building solutions customized to each individual school empowers institutions to overcome inertia and build on actual demand. The Civitas Learning platform reveals predictors of success across the student journey, equipping leaders to help students persist and get through to completion efficiently and effectively. 

Even more significantly, Civitas Learning specializes in pulling data from systems that institutions already have in place to find actionable information without reinventing the wheel.   

This institution-specific and student-specific insight allows for more strategic decision-making and scalable, feasible action plans. An open and flexible platform like Civitas Learning ensures that your technology supports your processes and takes advantage of investments you’ve already made in other initiatives, tools, and systems.

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Future Proofing Higher Education

Initiatives and programming in higher education used to be a rinse-and-repeat process– find what works, then do the same thing each term with minimal adjustments. But I’ve seen firsthand that that approach doesn’t work with the constantly evolving modern higher education.

It’s not enough to simply get students in the door; to be truly impactful,  institutions need to know the underlying why behind their data to effectively support students in completing their college education. 

For schools to do this efficiently, they need to understand their student’s needs and circumstances so they spend time and money on offerings that students will value and appreciate. 

A connected platform like Civitas Learning provides a centralized, consistent source of knowledge and an easy way to disseminate information across individuals and teams to build alignment and improve coordination.

This maximizing efficiency and supporting progress on objectives is at the heart of our Civitas Learning platform. I firmly believe that helping higher education solve their toughest challenges begins with curating meaningful insights and asking the right questions. 

For all of us at Civitas Learning, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing our partners empowered to respond to their students– adjusting and expanding over time as the needs of their institution and students change. This flexibility is the first step in future-proofing any institution and, most importantly, helping students get the satisfaction and lifelong value of finishing college.

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Will Ballard, CEO

An accomplished technology company executive and engineering leader who first joined Civitas Learning as chief technology officer in 2020, Will has more than twenty years of experience managing large technical and engineering and teams and supporting customer success for enterprise technology customers.

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