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Delivering Proactive Academic Support at Scale with Dr. John Rindy


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In this episode, Dr. John Rindy covers a lot of ground when discussing proactive academic support. Dr. Rindy is the Assistant Vice President for Career and Academic Progress at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and has changed their strategies to be data-informed action.

Dr. Rindy shares Slippery Rock’s initiatives on how to help all students succeed with increasing student needs and shrinking resources. You’ll also learn how to use data analytics to tailor student success programs and initiatives to create capacity for proactive support and improve student outcomes, as well as how to build a coalition and facilitate change management between faculty and student success support staff to ensure that institutions are delivering the most effective student success initiatives and strategies possible. Slippery Rock promises a lot, and through the work of Dr. Rindy and his colleagues and the five pillars they focus on throughout a student’s higher education journey, they can deliver on the promise of student success.

Show Notes:

  • [2:27] – Dr. Rindy shares his background in the corporate world and his current role in higher education.
  • [3:35] – At Slippery Rock, enrollment is a big focus.
  • [5:22] – One part of the strategic plan is the promise that students will be successful and how they make sure they can be.
  • [6:46] – If it moves, they measure it and then use the measurements in daily decisions.
  • [8:02] – John gives an example of how they measured ending GPA and were able to identify students proactively who needed support.
  • [9:47] – One idea was to have first-year students write a letter to themselves that is then sent back to them at the end of the year.
  • [11:41] – What predictors in data analytics can be used to tailor student success programs?
  • [13:42] – With strong participation in student success programs at Slippery Rock, the data can show the impact.
  • [16:07] – At many institutions, student success initiatives fall in the hands of academic advisors, but at Slippery Rock, it’s a little different.
  • [17:52] – Conveying information isn’t the goal. It’s provoking action.
  • [20:40] – Change management can be a struggle. John shares the work behind change management at Slippery Rock.
  • [22:00] – People are interested in retention but truly don’t understand their role regarding retention.
  • [24:17] – Retention is important, but there are pieces of data we can look at that can have a surprising impact on it.
  • [26:06] – What differences do they see at Slippery Rock since taking a data-informed approach to student success?
  • [27:21] – Advocacy amplifies identity.
  • [29:02] – How do you move the needle once you hit these higher goals?
  • [30:58] – There are five pillars Slippery Rock focuses on from the beginning of admissions all the way through goals, relationships, values, acting on values, and mindset.

Links and Resources:

Dr. John Rindy, Assistant Vice President for Career and Academic Progress, Slippery Rock University

John serves as AVP for Career and Academic Progress at Slippery Rock University, a regional comprehensive university in western Pennsylvania, which enrolls about 7200 undergraduate and 1000 graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels. The Center for Career and Academic Progress – known as CCAP - is part of the Enrollment Management Division at SRU but works very closely with both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.

John spent 18 years as an adjunct in the college classroom and also served in other administrative roles in higher education. Prior to his higher education career, he worked in corporate America as a project manager for Corning Corporation and as CEO of PrimeCare Nevada, a rural hospital and primary care company. John has been at Slippery Rock for 12 years and collaborates closely with the office of decision support, and his colleagues in CCAP to drive proactive, data-informed decision making.

Katy Oliveira, Host & Producer, Next Practices Podcast

Katy oversees content at Civitas Learning, where she showcases best practices and customer experience to help higher ed institutions improve student success and reach institutional goals. In her 15-year higher education career, Katy gained extensive experience in student success as an academic advising, advising leader, and faculty member. She is also the creator and host of the Apple Podcast featured show, Collegehood Advice.

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