Ivy Tech Community College implements further efficiencies to increase retention, student success

College hires additional advisors, creates partnerships to streamline retention efforts

INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College has implemented several new initiatives focused on increasing retention rates and ensuring student success, which is the main focus of the college’s strategic plan, Accelerating Greatness.

Through the college’s strategic plan, Ivy Tech has focused its efforts on increasing success rates in general and remedial coursework, Fall to Spring semester persistence, as well as overall graduation and completion rates.  At the same time, financial resources have not kept up with student enrollment growth, but the college continues to create greater efficiencies in order to increase student success via retention and completion.

In addition to hiring over 50 new advisors starting this Fall, the college has entered into partnerships with Blackboard, Inc., Starfish Retention Services, and College Board in order to further create efficiencies and effectiveness amongst Ivy Tech’s statewide system.

“In recent years, funding has not kept up with enrollment growth and we have been challenged to provide increased resources for our students without increased funding,” said Thomas J. Snyder, President of Ivy Tech Community College.  “Cost savings and revenue enhancements have allowed us to continually re-engineer the college in order to create greater savings and efficiencies in order to fund our retention efforts as best we can.”

Ivy Tech’s agreement with Starfish Retention Services, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise student success systems, will create a comprehensive approach to academic advising that provides effective advising for the greatest number of students.  Starfish will integrate student success data from existing student and administrative systems, providing an easy to configure and use workflow for advisors and faculty, as well as provide key product functionality including the ability to automate student academic plans.  Advisors will be able to conveniently access student success data in combination with real-time feedback from faculty throughout the term.  The system will then provide a unified, best practiced-based workflow for how to identify at-risk students, manage intervention efforts, track student performance, create academic plans, and communicate with students. 

“Our partnership with Starfish will provide our advising staff with the appropriate tools to efficiently provide advising pathways for student success,” said Snyder.  “With decreasing resources and funding, we need to continue to ensure our students achieve their educational goals, but we need to find the right tools to help us serve more students with less staff per student.” 

Blackboard, Inc. will begin offering a Virtual Student Success Center in November to further enhance Ivy Tech’s student success initiatives and provide greater resources to students.  Blackboard will assist in the management of inbound communications from students in support of the entire student lifecycle, including enrollment and financial aid, admissions, registration, student accounts, and learning support.  In addition, technology and automation will be utilized to build a strong early relationship with prospective students to inform, engage, and direct them through the enrollment process and keep them retained with the college.  Blackboard will also provide a self-service portal to empower Ivy Tech students to independently obtain key information regarding student and support services.

Starting in October, Ivy Tech will begin utilizing the College Board’s ACCUPLACER program for three new computer adaptive assessments that will be used as the sole diagnostic and placement tests for the college.  The move to ACCUPLACER replaces the college’s current assessment tool, COMPASS, and provides greater flexibility by allowing the student to complete the assessment outside of campus testing centers, as well as providing customized assessments, including online intervention and preparation tools for students.  The new assessment system will provide on-demand diagnostic and placement information, which will allow educators to plan classroom instruction according to student strengths and weaknesses.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 200,000 students enrolled annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana.  It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana.  It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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