Dr. Sally Johnstone on Shifting Student Demographics and Redefining Measures of Success: National Advisory Board Conversation Series

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The Civitas Learning National Advisory Board is comprised of researchers, association leaders, and executives whose expertise has influenced higher education policy and practice across the United States and around the world, and has guided our work from day one. We continue this NAB Conversation Series — an opportunity to learn from these luminaries as we strive together to help more, and more diverse students learn well and finish strong — by welcoming Dr. Sally Johnstone, President, National Center For Higher Education Management Systems, into the mix. In this episode, Dr. Johnstone discusses the shifting demographics of students in universities and community colleges. As these significant shifts meet the changes in our national and state economies, it is imperative for institutions to offer well-designed and well-supported educational services for people throughout their lifetimes. In other words we need to help students consume education in a way that is relevant and reflects and is responsive to who they are, how they learn, what they need to learn, and their increasingly complex work and personal lives.
Watch a snippet of this conversation below.
Civitas Learning institutions can see the full video and series on the Civitas Hub.
Dr. Johnstone notes that institutions and employers need to work better together to plan how to attract, retain, and effectively educate students whose jobs are changing, and whose financial, cultural, and logistical realities are unique. Of course, this means measures of success will change as well. Dr. Johnstone argues that as we adjust to help diverse students journey through education in a diversity of ways, we’ll move away from head counts, looking more closely at persistence, how students transfer, and what happens with our students after graduation. This demands more cooperation–not competition–among institutions. Finally, we review the four levers for institutional culture change that NCHEMS has identified as essential to eliminate equity gaps in student success including:
  1. Data collection: Shifting to an information-driven decision-making framework
  2. Effective campus-wide communication and engagement: Not just at the leadership level, but in every direction — and including students — so that everyone is aligned and committed to student success goals.
  3. Hiring strategies and personnel policies: To ensure they are inclusive and so as to empower those who play a role in supporting the success of all students.
  4. Auditing campus and state policies and practices: To identify what’s perpetuating the status quo, and where there are opportunities to be more effective and to catalyze sustainable transformation.

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