Data-informed Strategic Planning Leads to More Equitable Support at Snow College

Data-Informed Strategic Planning Leads to More Equitable Success at Snow College

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With a student population of over 5,000, a six-county service area, and the main campus in Ephraim, Utah, Snow College celebrates its small size, and the personal attention students receive from professors and advisors during their junior college studies. 

To provide the highest quality experience for its students, Snow College is in the initial phases of a strategic enrollment and retention planning process. Easy access to meaningful data and analysis through the Civitas Learning Platform helps the college uncover institution-specific predictors of student success. And actionable insights guide their decision-making by revealing the impact of student success practices across different student populations.


“Civitas Learning is vital to our strategic planning. The data we’re finding directly influences the strategies we put forward. It shows us specific information like how meeting with an advisor improves persistence for a particular group of students.”

— Teri Clawson
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management
Snow College


This data-informed approach enables Teri Clawson, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, to better communicate with campus stakeholders and decision-makers about the best support strategies for Snow students. Backed by initiative analysis data, Clawson can more effectively direct the allocation of resources and refine approaches to provide more equitable and impactful student support.

“Civitas Learning is vital to our strategic planning,” Clawson says. “The data we’re finding directly influences the strategies we put forward. It shows us specific information like how meeting with an advisor improves persistence for a particular group of students.” Access to digestible data and actionable analytics through the Civitas Learning platform empowers the Snow team to use efficient student success practices in two important ways:

  1. Offer Group Advising to Create Capacity for Personalized Support
  2. Use Powerful Predictors to Support Vulnerable Students Proactively

Group Advising Creates Capacity for Personalized Support

When campus culture is rooted in offering a personalized experience, advisors and student support staff may feel they’re not doing their best if they’re not providing one-on-one support to every student. However, sticking to a one-size-fits-all approach to advising may prevent advising centers from reaching the students who need the most help.

When Snow College accessed initiative analysis data to determine if all students benefit equally from a one-on-one advising experience, the answer was loud and clear. While all students benefit from personalized advising services, lower-performing students saw a 20% boost in persistence due to an individual advising meeting compared to a 3% lift among high-performing students. 

With advising caseloads ranging from 500 to 600 students per full-time advisor, determining the impact of one-on-one advising support across different segments of the student body helps the Snow advising team refine their practices and maximize their impact on student success. 

According to Landon Peterson, Director of Academic Advising at Snow, “This insight has allowed us to provide more equitable services to students because we now know who benefits most from personalized support.”

Knowing that students in the lower quartiles of predicted success benefit much more from personalized advising support, Snow advisors are experimenting with group advising to serve high-performing students. This creates capacity for more personalized outreach and support for students in the lower quartiles of success.

The initiative analysis data at Snow clearly shows that some students benefit much more from personalized support than others. This insight facilitates a deeper understanding of how to best support all students and creates an opportunity to achieve more equitable outcomes for low-performing students.

Related: Advising and Student Success Playbook

Evidence-based practices to help academic advising teams use data analytics to improve course success, persistence, and on-time completion.
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Powerful Predictors Reveal Opportunities to Support Vulnerable Students Proactively

Using the Civitas Learning Platform’s powerful predictors capabilities, administrators observed that students who enrolled just before the semester had a lower likelihood of persistence than those who registered earlier. As a community college with open enrollment, there will always be students at Snow who wait to enroll until just before the term begins. However, knowing that this factor influences a student’s potential for success enables the institution to bring support to this particular group of students proactively.

With this knowledge in hand, the student success planning committee uses the Civitas Learning Student Impact Platform to easily create a list of students who enrolled just before the term. Student success teams then provide these students with early outreach using embedded communication tools like text and email, enroll them in Snow’s first-year student success class, and connect them to peer mentoring. 

Underlining just how critical these data-informed insights have been to Snow’s strategic planning process, Clawson says, “If we hadn’t had Civitas, we would not have even looked at that [factor] in the planning process. It was on no one’s radar.”

Institutions can’t change the nature of the students they serve. But, with solid data analytics and streamlined workflow capabilities, they can explore the impact of specific behaviors on students’ likelihood of success and proactively support them at scale. Gaining a more precise understanding of the factors that influence student success empowers teams to identify the students who need support and deliver the right strategies to help them succeed.

Data Analytics Enhances Strategic Planning and Leads to More Precision in Student Support

With data analytics capabilities provided by the Civitas Learning platform, Snow College is capturing important insights about student success that facilitate the institution’s strategic planning and decision-making processes. The knowledge that specific student groups benefit much more from personalized advising support enables Snow administrators to make strategic adjustments like introducing group advising to create more capacity for personalized support for the students who need it most. Gaining insight into additional factors of student success ensures that personnel involved in the strategic planning process make meaningful recommendations to enhance student support.

Knowing what factors influence student success is key to offering the right support. Bringing institutional data into a unified source and making it available in digestible, easy-to-use formats supports the work of campus leaders and decision-makers to uncover these institutional insights and guide resource allocation and program refinements.

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