Promoting student success: What SHEEOs and system heads can do

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Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research


States benefit considerably when their stocks of "educational capital" grow. From a workforce and tax revenue standpoint, state rates of return on baccalaureate education are far higher than those associated with any other educational step. Additional benefits attributable to higher education- ranging from enhancements in citizen participation to improved health and avoidance of public support- are equally easy to document. It is, thus, in every state's interest to increase the numbers of its citizens who attain a baccalaureate degree. And it is equally in every state's interest to ensure that those who do earn a degree have experienced the kind of high quality learning environments that yield levels of knowledge and skills that are nationally and internationally competitive. Every college and university can improve its graduation rates and enhance the quality of its undergraduate programs by creating the conditions that matter to student success. Decades of research studies show that one key factor is student engagement- the time and effort that students devote to their studies and related activities. Institutions can organize their classes and other learning opportunities so that students put more effort in and benefit more from such activities. SHEEOs and System Heads can do their part by ensuring that matters of undergraduate quality and student success remain central to the state's approaches to planning, resource allocation, and accountability. And while their direct responsibility remains largely confined to public institutions, they can increasingly establish policies that affect independent institutions as well.



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