Student success is a simple concept. At its core is a belief in the capability of HE to give each student the support they need to recognise and fulfil their potential. Aligning and optimising the broad range of factors that are required to achieve this, however, is a significant task, particularly in a world of limited time, finite resources and conflicting priorities.

The Seven Cs for Embedding Student Success: A Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions (Seven Cs Toolkit) has been developed as a resource for higher education institutions (HEIs). This Seven Cs Toolkit will assist local higher education (HE) communities as they reflect on student success. It can be used to prompt meaningful conversations across institutions that will focus on what student success means within the context of their institution. It can help communities to collaboratively agree approaches that support the continual enhancement of student success into the future. In this way, all students are provided with the opportunity to fulfil their potential and become creators of new knowledge who are professionally competent, community engaged, ethically conscious and equipped to flourish in a globally-connected world.

L-to-R: Lee O’Farrell (Student Success Project Manager, National Forum), Caitríona Ryan (Head of Access Policy, HEA), Kevin McStravock (Vice President for Academic Affairs, USI),  Terry Maguire (Director, National Forum), Lynn Ramsey (Chair, National Forum)

The Seven Cs Toolkit comprises four components all of which help to guide communities in higher education institutions towards embedding of student success in a manner which reflects the institutional culture and context:

  • The Statements extend each of the enablers outlined in Embedding Student Success: A Guiding Framework and can be used to initiate discussions, disrupt and challenge context bound thinking and promote positive enhancement.
  • Questions for reflection provide an opportunity for institutions to think about each enabler more deeply and to consider key actions such as communications, leadership, impact and evaluation.
  • The Lenses ensure that the diversity of all staff and students is considered at every stage of the process of enhancement. This requires that planned policies, processes and activities be ‘road tested’ for their impact across the diversity of the whole staff and student population.
  • The Rubrics and associated Digital Tool facilitates each institution in a process of ‘taking stock’ to identify their starting point for planning enhancement and to gather actionable feedback. In addition, they help to capture what different staff and students think currently supports student success and what areas require further development.


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