Below is the third instalment in our “Elevator Pitch” series. For more information about the series, and how to participate, click here. We have several more “pitches” coming soon.
What problem does your product or service address?
Presidents, provosts and deans are held accountable for student learning outcomes (such as retention and graduation rates) by higher ed boards, legislatures and accreditors, but they have no tools to effectively channel that demand for accountability internally to their academic units. Unable to control costs or learning outcomes, they are bound to fail.
For whom is your product or service designed?
For campus executives who are serious about improving learning outcomes and who do not want to invest in additional support resources and programs, since they realize that preventable student failures are not caused by a lack of support resources, but a lack of effective, timely and institution-wide support processes.
What is the solution you are providing?
A hosted management platform that scores the engagement and progress of every student against thresholds defined by campus leadership and that ensures that academic units reach out to students who fall below these thresholds. Our solution ensures that every at-risk student receives prompt and pro-active support; it holds academic units accountable for following their own academic support strategies; and it provides campus executives with data on usage and effectiveness of every support resource and strategy to focus scarce funds on those that work.
Why is your organization best suited or capable of doing this (e.g. existing infrastructure, talent/experience)?
Because we understand the limitations shared governance, as implemented at most U.S. institutions, puts on effecting organizational change on campus. We have many years of change management experience and are change management consultants as much as software engineers. That is important, since improving student learning outcomes is as much a management problem as it is an academic problem.
How does your product or services differ from current solutions?
Current student retention solutions focus on students and instructors, and they rely on faculty and student volition to play along. They work well for students who know how to succeed (and hence do not need these tools in the first place). However, most struggling students are overwhelmed by their environment and unable to find the support they need on their own and in time. They also do not respond to automated electronic communication. To achieve significant improvements in retention and graduation rates, institutions need to reach out forcefully to at-risk students, early in the semester, and bring the most effective support resource to them. Our solution is the only one that does that. It is also the only solution that measures the impact of every support intervention.