Earlier this semester, a few of us visited the University of South Florida in Tampa, where we spent a day meeting with their student success specialists. We were particularly impressed by their “Persistence Committee,” which they launched in 2016 when they saw that their improvements in their metrics had plateaued; their efforts were featured in the article “Culture, Care, and Predictive Analytics at the University of South Florida.”
We have subsequently launched our own Persistence Action Team, which works to supplement the outreach to students that is offered by individual schools and colleges. We identify students using a number of key metrics (e.g., GPA, units in which they are enrolled, holds on their accounts), along with progress reports submitted by instructors. During the pandemic, it is particularly important that you submit reports for students who have not yet engaged with your course.
Once the students have been identified, they are assigned to a member of the persistence committee, who then do the following:
- Checks Navigate to see what outreach has already occurred (e.g., if a student’s advisor has already connected with them).
- Checks PAWS to gather details on any financial holds.
- Develops an outreach strategy for the student, relying on recommendations from the Care, Respect and Expression Task Force.
- Coordinates outreach either directly to the student or through established relationships
- Records outreach method, message, and outcome for each student.
We are still developing our practices and will be learning a lot about what student data is most predictive of challenges and what means of outreach will be most effective. We hope the Persistence Action Team can work very positively to help students stay connected with instructors and the campus.
How you can help:
- Follow best practices for Reaching Out When Teaching Online.
- Participate in the new Progress Report campaign; the information you provide can make a big difference! The window for this campaign ends on April 16.