Student Success is About Getting to One

The article Community College Group Launches Texas Success Center has Lone Star Community College System Chancellor Richard Carpenter noting that “There are about 30 different student success programs at Texas colleges. They are programs designed to help students complete their two-year degrees or successfully move on to a four-year university. ‘We find ourselves initiative rich,’ he said. ‘All of these initiatives must be herded.’”

This statement is followed by the announcement that a new Texas Success Center “will be supported by about $2.4 million provided by the state’s 50 community colleges, the Kresge Foundation, the Houston Endowment, the Greater Texas Foundation, the Meadows Foundation and TG, a nonprofit corporation that provides financial planning support to Texas students.”

Just percolate on that for a minute…there are 30+ initiatives, and the State needs $2.4 million to aggregate, or simplify, or eliminate, or better communicate about those initiatives. Most likely, what is being done at the community colleges to improve Student Success is laudable and is specific to that college’s students, curriculum, faculty, and future vision. So any effort to herd initiatives should be done with that understanding of local focus in mind.

In addition, a litmus test for each dollar spent and each initiative tested needs to start with the basic agreement that Student Success is about getting to one. It’s about knowing (at times, even before the student knows) how each one individual student can succeed, how the student defines success, how likely they are to succeed, and what can be done to ensure success. In other words, how does one initiative help one community college to help one student succeed?

Get to the point where each college can know each student on a 1-to-1 basis, and you’ll get the point where Student Success is within reach.

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