Watermark Announces Product Innovations To Help Institutions DemonstrateTheir Impact on Student Success


AUSTIN, TX – June 29, 2022: Higher education software company Watermark announced key product innovations at its client conference, Engage, held virtually June 15-16, 2022, with innovations centered around today’s challenges for institutions.

Purpose-built for higher ed, Watermark surfaces insights that help institutions make a meaningful impact, stay competitive, and help students succeed. Watermark’s integrated digital solutions support assessment and accreditation, faculty activity reporting, course evaluation and surveys, and catalog and curriculum development for more than 1,700 higher education institutions around the world. 

“Today’s higher ed leaders face challenges and uncertainty,” Watermark CEO Erin Shy said. “We strive to help institutions move forward confidently to make an impact on the success of their students, institutions, and communities. We’ve invested in products and people to do just that.”  

Darren Bauer Kahan, Watermark’s chief product and technology officer, announced key product developments at the annual conference.

Student Success & Engagement bridges the gap between institutional effectiveness and student success. Watermark’s commitment to helping institutions measure their impact led to their December 2021 acquisition of Aviso Retention. Aviso powers student engagement, using AI to indicate potential challenges to student retention. Student success is the “other side of the coin” to institutional effectiveness, complementing Watermark’s existing solutions that support institutional effectiveness. Aviso’s product line is now called Watermark Student Success & Engagement. 

“Much of an institution’s impact sits at the intersection of institutional effectiveness and student success,” said Shy. “But many Institutional Effectiveness and Student Success teams still face data silos that make it difficult to collaborate and determine how their continuous improvement initiatives are impacting students in real-time. The addition of Student Success & Engagement (formerly Aviso) helps bring the two areas of focus together.”

Alex Leader, former CEO of Aviso, is now Watermark’s Chief Impact Officer. 

Leader asked conference attendees, “How does the work of everyone at your institution impact the lives of your students and the communities you serve? Together, we’re on the path to help institutions show the tremendous impact that they are having day-in and day-out. As Watermark steers even more into this outcomes-centered approach, we will measure impact right alongside institutions and help them compress the cycle time of continuous improvement. The sooner we get these insights, the better off students will be.”

Insights Hub has launched. Watermark’s mission involves providing insights that help institutions maximize educational impact. As the company’s products become more integrated, the Insights Hub brings data together across solutions to answer pressing questions from institutional leaders, drive conversations, and take action. This first insight, available for institutions that use Watermark Planning & Self-Study, shows how organizations across campus are engaged in assessment planning. 

“This first insight is exciting,” said Darren Bauer Kahan, Chief Product and Technology Officer for Watermark, “because it kicks off many, rapidly-evolving insights across multiple Watermark products. We will roll out new insights iteratively to our clients, and each insight helps our customers answer key questions that help them continuously improve.”

Gateways fulfills the need for efficient licensure programs. Watermark Student Learning & Licensure is purpose-built for Schools of Education, Social Work, and other similar programs. Watermark’s new Gateways module of Student Learning & Licensure provides a more efficient and transparent way to track students’ progress through licensure programs. Students will be able to see, supply, and confirm they’ve met the requirements for their licensure plan. Programs track students and related artifacts from college admission to licensure, derive new insights from these requirements, and illuminate opportunities for program improvements.

Improved performance and security with AWS. The company announced that all its products are now hosted on the AWS platform, ahead of the schedule promised a year ago. This change has dramatically improved the scalability and performance of Watermark Course Evaluations & Surveys, and will make the Course Catalog module of Watermark Curriculum Strategy “blindingly fast,” per Bauer Kahan. It has also accelerated overall product development at Watermark.

Watermark product integrations evolving. In the past year, Watermark Course Evaluations & Surveys has integrated with Watermark Planning & Self-Study to enable indirect measures to flow into assessments. The integration of Watermark Faculty Success with Course Evaluations & Surveys surfaces student feedback into the review, promotion, and tenure process. Soon Watermark Student Learning & Licensure will expand beyond its current integration with Planning & Self-Study to integrate with the Insights Hub.

Watermark customer success, services, and support evolve. New Chief Customer Officer, Sharon Milliman, was welcomed at Engage 2022. She and her team shared key evolutions in the company’s service offerings. Milliman, brought on board in December 2021, joins Watermark with over 20 years of experience in customer success leadership roles. 

Institutional leaders share experiences. 

Dr. Bridget Burns, CEO of the University Innovation Alliance, keynoted Engage 2022. Burns spoke about  improving institutional effectiveness by designing around the student experience. Burns discussed how to identify areas of focus, ask tough questions, and take the first steps toward student-centered transformation. Michael Anft from The Chronicle of Higher Education led a conversation around current challenges, including slowing enrollment and growing economic pressures. 

More than 25 higher education leaders demonstrated how institutional changes drive progress on their campuses. Some of the more popular conversations include:

  • The University of Holy Cross created a compelling, well-researched strategy to revise institutional effectiveness planning, with strong support from their provost.
  • Tiffin University uses “outcomes assessment days” to foster collaboration and create time and space for more profound work. 
  • The University of Southern Mississippi’s leadership said it took a culture shift to embrace activity reporting with Watermark Faculty Success, but this software enabled new conversations about key metrics and faculty impact.
  • The Inter American University of Puerto Rico showed how they use Watermark Course Evaluations & Surveys to gather deeper insights across multiple facets of students’ campus experience, beyond just their course-level input.
  • Advisors and success coaches at Linn-Benton Community College, Central Carolina Community College, and College of Saint Mary shared how they use risk-based predictive models to provide timely intervention and real results for students.

Attendees also learned about new products, gave direct feedback to the product teams, and heard first-hand about Watermark’s product vision and development roadmap. This annual conference is next slated for mid-June 2023.  

About Watermark

At Watermark, insights inspire progress. Watermark’s software gives higher education institutions the insights they need to improve, evolve, and empower student success. Watermark’s integrated digital solutions support assessment and accreditation, faculty activity reporting, course evaluation and surveys, and catalog and curriculum development for more than 1,700 higher education institutions around the world. To learn more, visit watermarkinsights.com

eCampus News Staff