The aim of the Seven Cs Toolkit is to support higher education institutions to take a whole-of-institution approach to embedding a process for the continuous enhancement of student success.

The Seven Cs Toolkit for embedding student success provides a systematic approach for institutions to capture what they already do well to support student success, to identify and prioritise areas for development and to develop an implementation plan for the continuous improvement of student success over an identified enhancement period.

Institutions should work through the Seven Cs process using the resources provided in the toolkit.  Those who are responsible for supporting student success within the institution need to become familiar with the national understanding of student success and the enablers of student success that have been identified.

Getting to grips with the national understanding and the enablers of student success.

An agreed sectoral understanding of student success, developed through national conversations and the reviewed literature, was published in Understanding and Enabling Student Success in Irish Higher Education.

Student success optimises the learning and development opportunities for each student to recognise and fulfil their potential to contribute to, and flourish in, society.

To be achieved, this requires a culture in Irish higher education that values inclusivity, equity and meaningful engagement between students, staff, their institutions and the wider community.

The national understanding is founded on the following core tenets:

  • Success can only be facilitated through meaningful partnership and engagement between students and staff and between all levels of the HE sector
  • Success means empowering students to recognise and achieve their own potential
  • It is the responsibility of those working across the HE sector to identify and remove any obstacles that may hinder students from achieving their own benchmark of success
  • Success is not binary and cannot be fully encapsulated in metrics such as retention and progression rates. It reframes the perspective from product to process, from an approach driven by output metrics to one that is enabled by ongoing quality enhancement
  • Success is too highly nuanced and individualised to be concisely defined. It can, nonetheless, be understood and facilitated
  • Success requires whole-of-institution approaches.’

In order to embed student success within an institution the institution needs to consider how the national understanding of student success is to be interpreted in their own context. In addition, all those involved in planning the continuous enhancement of student success need to be familiar with the key enablers of student success as outlined in Embedding Student Success: A Guiding Framework.

A shared vision for student success needs to be agreed. Institutions need to be able to identify their starting point, identifying good practice and areas for further development.

The process for embedding student success in a sustainable way within an institution is described in the Seven Cs process outlined below:

01 Commit

The institution commits to the student success process by appointing an Institutional Student Success Lead and identifying Student Success Partners across all institutional functional areas.

02 Collaborate

A whole-of-institution steering group, which includes students, is set up and facilitated by the Institutional Student Success Lead.  This group works collaboratively to consider the National Understanding of Student Success and Embedding Student Success: A Guiding Framework and to create a clear vision of student success from an institutional perspective.

03 Community

Facilitated by the Institutional Student Success Partners, the entire institutional community contributes to the ‘taking stock’ process, identifying the ways they are supporting student success and the areas that need to be enhanced.

04 Consensus

The results of the ‘taking stock’ process are synthesised for each functional area, compiled and are considered by the whole-of-institution steering group. Guided by the statements for each enabler, the group comes to a consensus and prioritises high level enhancement targets. An implementation plan for achieving these targets for student success over an identified enhancement period is developed.

05 Communicate

The steering group communicates the implementation plan, which is enabling, clear, and well-resourced, to all staff, students and other stakeholders.

06 Connect

The Student Success Partners within each functional area, in collaboration with their staff and students, connect how the institutional priorities and implementation plan can be interpreted locally and identify local enhancement targets and actions.

07 Continuing

Progress against the Student Success implementation plan is constantly reviewed both within each functional area and by the whole-of-institution steering group, so the continual enhancement of student success is on-going and based on feedback and data gathered.