Do student success initiatives actually help?

Student success initiatives may not have as much impact as intended–a new study shows that just 60 percent of student success initiatives have a positive impact on student persistence, with 40 percent having either no impact or a negative impact.

An analysis of about 1,000 student success initiatives at more than 55 colleges and universities, conducted by Civitas Learning, notes that while institutions invest millions into helping improve student outcomes, they rarely have rigorous measurements of what, if anything, actually drives improvements.

Related content: 10 ways to use analytics to increase student success

“Today, however, many student services are based on confidence in an existing program or the implementation of a standard best practice, rather than the data-informed personalization of student experience,” according to the report. “Not surprisingly, this results in only 60 percent of student interventions demonstrating a measurable positive impact on student success overall.”

Insight gleaned from the report is intended to help higher-ed leaders close that measurement gap and pinpoint what does and doesn’t work when it comes to building student success initiatives that truly benefit students.


What Hurricane Florence taught us about emergency communications

Successfully preparing for severe weather events—like hurricanes—involves more than just sandbagging doors and securing windows. Hurricanes can cause significant damage, leaving people stranded and putting lives at risk. In these situations, good emergency communications and response plans are crucial for informing people how to keep themselves—and their families—safe.

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolinas, promising 140 mph winds and 20–25 inches of rain. The hurricane motivated us at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to employ the best and most effective strategies and solutions to keep everyone safe and informed while maintaining critical campus operations.

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With 23,400 members of the campus community spread across six colleges and an 800-bed medical center located in a city below sea level, our team knew that giving everyone the information they needed to stay safe would be no small feat.


Spreaker becomes the first podcasting platform to fully support Chrome OS

Spreaker Studio has become the first podcasting app to be fully compatible and designed specifically to work with Chrome OS. Now you can enjoy all of our best podcasting tools straight from your Chromebook.

To give you some background, Chrome OS is the operating system installed on the Google Chromebook. Launched 8 years ago, Chromebook has grown at a fast rate since its launch – with some 17 million units predicted to be in use by 2023. As a result of the products’ affordable price tag, Chromebooks have become the computer of choice within the educational field, and in 2017 Chromebooks and other Google products made up 58% of all devices purchased for US classrooms.

The perfect way to get students podcasting!

The notable presence within schools of Google products is exactly what pushed us to make Spreaker Studio, and all of our podcasting tools, available for the Chrome OS operating system. Our features have been specially designed with simplicity in mind – making podcasting accessible to all. We hope that by opening up our platform to Chromebook users podcasting will become increasingly integrated into the educational curriculum and in turn more students will adopt podcasting as a creative outlet.

What can Spreaker Studio do?

Spreaker Studio is our app available for desktop and mobile, offering podcasters of all levels the opportunity to record, publish, distribute and analyze their show with total ease. We give podcasters flexibility at their fingertips: record or go live, edit on-the-go or distribute speedily with our one-click distribution. Anything is possible, and we’ll be there to support you on your journey – ensuring that you always have the latest tools and features available to make your podcast sound amazing.

Installing Spreaker Studio App on your Chromebook

If you’re a Chromebook user and you want to get started, here is how to set Spreaker Studio up on your computer!

If your Chromebook already supports Google Play apps:

1. Make sure you’re using the latest version of Chrome – version 53 or later.
2. To check which version you’re using, select the Status area or the Settings cog. Then select About Chrome OS.
3. If you don’t have the latest version of Chrome click the Check for and apply updates in the About section and restart your computer.
4. Now you’re ready to download Spreaker Studio – just search for “Spreaker Studio” on the Google Play Store !

If your Chromebook doesn’t support Google Play apps:
Even if you’re not on the latest version of Chrome it’s a relatively simple process to get set up. However, it does come with some associated risks as you’ll need to switch to the developer channel which means you will be more liable to bugs and software issues. Be sure to do your own research and get a clear idea of what switching channels means exactly.

If you’re comfortable with the switch, here’s what you can do:
1. Open the Settings cog to open the Chrome OS settings page.
2. Select About Chrome OS at the top of the page to check which version you’re running on.
3. Click More Info and then Change Channel.
4. Here you’ll have two options, Beta and Developer – Unstable, click Developer – Unstable and read the warning notice. If you’re happy to proceed, click Change Channel.
5. Let your computer update and then Restart to make sure you’re running on the new version.
6. Once your computer has rebooted you’ll have the Google Play Store (beta) app in your apps tray and you’re ready to download Spreaker Studio – just search for “Spreaker Studio” on the store!

The best bit is that as soon as you’re up and running you’ll be able to access Spreaker Studio and all it has to offer. Also you’ll be able to use our CMS, which will allow you to take advantage of advanced options such as detailed statistics and our super simple monetization program.


Challenging students to see and achieve their unique potential

Higher education faculty, counselors and advisers all need an effective framework with a set of tools to assess, intervene and empower our students to see and achieve their own unique potentials, whether in the classroom, advising sessions, orientation workshops, or internship opportunities.

The Success Predictor is an effective framework to help educators guide students to make a transformation from the person they think they are “supposed to be”, to the person they know they are meant to be. The Success Predictor is typically used to: determine internal motivations to succeed, understand reference points of capabilities, diagnose internal states of well-being, formulate career aspirations, determine professional acumen, understand academic program interests, guide college selection and fit, guide life and career directions, understand personal paradigms of reality, and guide interventions, among others.

Related content: 2 actions to impact student wellbeing

Family and society constraints

Why don’t students more often take self-responsibility and self-initiative to tap into their inner drive to create a better world and a better self? Most often it is because they are trapped in their own minds, with unexamined beliefs and assumptions about who they are “supposed to be.” This false self is learned through family systems that permit only certain values, customs, and behaviors that are deemed acceptable, while emotions deemed somehow unacceptable are repressed and suppressed by the family culture.


Where are the best community colleges in the U.S.?

Community colleges occupy a unique space in higher education, because they are often hubs of innovation while at the same time making higher education more accessible and affordable to more people. Now, new rankings examine the best community colleges on at individual level, along with the best state community college systems in the U.S.

Some states make community college even more accessible through College Promise programs that give residents free rides to community college provided they meet certain criteria. New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Tennessee are some of the states that have joined so far.

Related content: Schools focus on community college pipeline

Such initiatives are proving to be more critical than ever, with college tuition increases outpacing inflation and the need for post-secondary training in most jobs protected to grow through 2020. During the 2018 to 2019 academic year, tuition and fees for full-time, in-state enrollment at a public two-year college averaged $3,660 per year versus $10,320 at a public four-year institution and $35,830 at a four-year private school.


These are 2019’s top 10 wireless trends

Wireless technology plays a key role in today’s communications, and new forms of it will become central to emerging technologies including robots, drones, self-driving vehicles and new medical devices in wireless trends over the next five years.

In a new report, Gartner, Inc. has identified the top 10 wireless trends for enterprise architecture (EA) and technology innovation leaders.

Related content: 9 critical steps to Wi-Fi innovation

“Business and IT leaders need to be aware of these technologies and trends now,” says Nick Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Many areas of wireless innovation will involve immature technologies, such as 5G and millimeter wave, and may require skills that organizations currently don’t possess. EA and technology innovation leaders seeking to drive innovation and technology transformation should identify and pilot innovative and emerging wireless technologies to determine their potential and create an adoption roadmap.”

Top 10 wireless trends

1. Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi has been around a long time and will remain the primary high-performance networking technology for homes and offices through 2024. Beyond simple communications, Wi-Fi will find new roles–for example, in radar systems or as a component in two-factor authentication systems.


Universities team up to boost minorities in STEM academia

Rice University, Texas Southern University (TSU) and the University of Houston (UH) have won a multimillion-dollar grant to help increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing academic careers in engineering and science.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for $2.66 million over five years is part of its Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program, which seeks to “advance knowledge about models to improve pathways to the professoriate and success” for historically underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines.

Related content: Two ways to increase faculty diversity

The award is specifically for those in data engineering and data science disciplines. It will fund a project to be called AGEP STRIDES (Strengthening Training and Resources for Inclusion in Data Engineering and Sciences).

“Even in this day and age, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in engineering faculty is nowhere near what it can be,” says Hanadi Rifai, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate dean of research and facilities at UH’s Cullen College of Engineering.


Study aims to de-stigmatize mental illness on campus

College students who participate in fun, peer-directed activities that openly and honestly address mental illness are significantly less likely to stigmatize people with these conditions, according to a new study led by researchers at Indiana University (IU).

The work, published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is the first study to systematically survey a single graduating class over the course of their college careers on attitudes toward people with mental illness in conjunction with a sustained campaign on the topic. The study was led by Bernice Pescosolido, IU Distinguished Professor of Sociology and director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research.

Related content: Here’s what college presidents are saying about student mental health

Specifically, the study examined the effectiveness of U Bring Change to Mind, a part of Bring Change to Mind, a national nonprofit focused on reducing the stigma associated with mental illness led by actress Glenn Close, whose sister and nephew live with mental illness. The researchers measured shifts in student attitudes over time though surveys in their freshman and junior years.


2 ways a spend management solution can help private universities

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 4,298 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States as of the 2017-2018 school year. Of these, 1,687 were private institutions.

While many members of the public don’t believe there is much of a difference between public and private universities, this way of thinking is false. Private and public institutions are quite different, and the main difference is that private colleges do not receive funding from state legislatures. Instead, they rely heavily on student tuition and fees, as well as private donations.

Related content: 3 smart ways to improve higher-ed IT funding

The lack of state funding and the need for individual donations often leads private university tuition to be higher, which snowballs into tighter budgets and a strong focus on controlled expenditure. Allocation gets even more complicated if the university has multiple campuses with different types of projects or funds to manage.

This begs the question: How can private universities successfully manage all the different facets of financial operations?


Top college ranking now looks at social mobility

U.S. News & World Report just released its annual college ranking, and for the first time it includes a category focused on social mobility, which highlights institutions that best serve underrepresented students.

According to the 2020 U.S. News Best Colleges. Princeton University remains No. 1 among national universities, while Williams College is once again in the top spot among national liberal arts colleges.

Related content: Should every freshman take this class?

This year, public schools in California, Florida and New York excel in enrolling and graduating large proportions of low-income students. The University of California—Los Angeles maintains its spot as the No. 1 Top Public School among National Universities.