USF’s Transformational Collaboration with Civitas Learning Recognized by American Council on Education

Press Release Civitas Learning News

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TAMPA, FLA. (MARCH 12, 2019) — At the annual convening of the American Council on Education (ACE), Sunday, the University of South Florida (USF), received the 2019 ACE/Fidelity Award for Institutional Transformation. The recognition highlighted USF’s pioneering partnership with Civitas Learning to bring together predictive analytics and personalized case management to improve first-year retention, increase graduation rates and close achievement gaps.

USF’s first-year retention rate now stands at 91 percent, the highest in university history. Its six-year graduation rate recently reached 73 percent, an increase of 22 percentage points since 2009. In 2018, USF was designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, unlocking new state funding designated for the most high-performing state universities.

“During the past several years, our team has worked hands-on with the team at Civitas Learning to utilize the power of predictive analytics to support our student success movement,” said Paul Dosal, vice president for Student Success at USF. “Our collaborative campus can now deliver the right support to the right student at the right time. It’s an incredible honor to receive national recognition for our commitment to student success.”

Civitas Learning’s Austin office says – “Go Bulls!”

Presented by higher education’s most influential and respected association, the award recognizes institutions that have successfully implemented transformative initiatives in innovative and creative ways. The University of South Florida’s success is rooted in the application of data-driven insights by a cross-functional “Care Team” that includes advisors, case managers, resident assistants, career advocates, success coaches, tutors, financial aid advisors, and more.

“USF embedded advanced analytics into the daily work of their support teams, bringing a new level of insight into their student support–insights that helped them move beyond assumed academic issues into student struggles with life and logistics, psychosocial, and other challenges,” said Mark Milliron, co-founder and chief learning officer at Civitas Learning. “Powered by more nuanced analytics and a better understanding of the impact of their initiatives, their committed and caring faculty, advisors, administrators and students are able to bring next-level precision and at-scale case management to their increasingly diverse student body. The outcomes speak for themselves.”

Even more impressive than its record-high first-year retention rate, USF has eliminated achievement gaps by race and ethnicity, as well as income. African-American and Hispanic students now graduate at six-year rates that are actually higher than white students. Likewise, Pell-eligible students perform on par with higher-income students with only a percentage-point difference. These achievements have earned USF recognition by The Education Trust as the number one university in Florida for Black, Latino and Pell recipient student success and for ranking sixth, fourth and ninth respectively nationally as USF closed the achievement gap.

This latest distinction follows years of increasing national recognition for USF. Trade publication Education Dive named USF the 2017 Institution of the Year. Since 2013, USF has advanced in national rankings to rank 58th in the nation among public universities and 124th among all national universities by U.S. News & World Reports. Additional information about USF’s work can be found here.

The University of South Florida is one of 375 colleges and universities worldwide using the Civitas learning platform, solutions and services to engage and nudge students, guide course planning and class scheduling, and support case management by advisors and faculty.

In recent months, a number of new colleges and universities have joined its growing community of practice, including the University of Cincinnati, Western Governors University, New Jersey City University, the University of Alabama Birmingham, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Blinn College, Florida State University, and two more colleges in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.


About Civitas Learning®: Civitas Learning is a student success intelligence platform leveraging each institution’s unique data to find and distribute the clearest path to improved higher education outcomes. We do this through our leading-edge technology, design thinking, and data science to achieve our goal to help a million more students. Today, Civitas Learning is a strategic partner to 375 colleges and universities, serving nearly 8 million students. Together with our growing community of partners, Civitas Learning is making the most of the world’s learning data to help graduate a million more students per year by 2025.

About the University of South Florida: The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 50,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the top 25 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2018, the Florida Board of Governors designated USF as a Preeminent State Research University, placing USF in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

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