Institutions will work through the process and the components of this toolkit simultaneously. The components of the toolkit are:
- Conversation-starting statements for each enabler of student success
- Questions for reflection specific to each enabler and reflective questions common to all enablers
- A range of lenses including student, staff, and teaching and learning lenses
- Taking stock rubrics
- The digital tool
To further support student success leads and student success partners to engage with the Seven Cs Toolkit a User Guide has been developed.
A range of statements for each enabler have been developed. These statements extend how the enabler might be actioned in practice. For each statement, key lenses and specific questions for reflection have been identified.
The statements along with the specific lenses and reflective questions can be used to initiate discussions, disrupt and challenge context bound thinking and promote a focus on continual enhancement. Additional reflective questions common to all enablers are so available for consideration.
The staff and students of our higher education institutions are not homogenous. To ensure that the process of embedding student success within institutions remains inclusive and respectful of the diversity of both students and staff, a series of lenses (link to Lenses downloads in Resources) through which to consider the statements for each enabler have been developed. The use of these lenses will support institutions to consider the impact of student success policies, practices and actions on all staff and students. Further, these lenses will encourage open and sometimes challenging conversations to ensure that student success is embedded for all students across all functional areas of the institution. Many students and staff have a number of different characteristics across many of the lenses, therefore the lenses should be used in combinations to create staff or student personae.
The list of lenses is not exhaustive and Student Success Leads and Partners are encouraged to develop additional lenses that reflect their own particular context.
Example of a student persona using a combination of lenses
Student A is:
- a taught Masters student
- who entered college via advanced entry
- who commutes a long distance to college
- who is an Access student
- who is studying for a full award requirement, full-time
- where the majority of learning takes place in the workplace
Staff member A is:
- a lecturer
- who is on an hourly paid contract
- who is in the early stage of their research career
- who has a disability
- teaching a single module
- where the majority of teaching takes place on main campus during daytime hours
Persona generator resources have been developed to support discussions during online and face-to-face workshops/meetings. One persona generator focuses on staff and one on students. These resources can be used to consider the multifaceted lived experiences of students and staff and to ensure that the impact of any planned policy, practice or action is considered across the diversity of the student and staff community/population.
3. Rubrics for ‘taking stock’
To support institutions in ‘taking stock’ of how student success is currently embedded in their institution, rubrics have been developed for each enabler of student success. Using the rubrics involves mapping which aspects of the enhancement of student success have been embedded across all functional areas in the institution.
Each rubric consists of three levels. Each level in the rubric builds on the previous one so that there is a cumulative effect as you move from Developing to Consolidating to Leading. It should be noted that the rubrics include indicators of what practice could look like at each level, for each enabler. The indicators are not presented as an exhaustive or exclusive list. Participants in the ‘taking stock’ process are asked to review the statements for each enabler and the level to which student success is currently embedded in their context on a scale of 1-9 position. In addition, they are asked to capture which aspects of embedding student success currently in place work well and to what areas require further development.
Coordinated by the Student Success Partner, the ‘taking stock’ process should be completed within each functional area within the institution in partnership with the staff and students. This process can be completed in a face-to-face session using the rubric scoring templates provided, or by using the unique digital tool designed to support this process. You can explore the demo of the digital tool.
All staff and students should be provided with the opportunity to contribute to the ‘taking stock’ process. To encourage people to engage with the process, communications can be tailored for each functional area. Communications might include information on how the feedback will be used to enhance student success in the institution, how the feedback loop will be closed, and how staff and students will work in partnership to identify and deliver planned enhancements.
By completing this ‘taking stock’ process, using the individual rubrics for each enabler, functional areas and the institution, can identify what aspects of student success are currently done well and also those areas that require further development.
The output of the ‘taking stock’ process from each functional area should be synthesised, combined and considered by the whole-of-institution steering group to provide the starting point from which to identify high level targets for embedding student success for the institution and for developing an associated implementation plan.
4. Digital Tool
The Seven Cs Digital Tool helps staff and students to take stock of how their functional area / institution is supporting and embedding student success. To complete this process, staff and students read the rubric for each of the student success enablers. Each rubric has three columns. The first column “DEVELOPING” sets out activities and practices that would be in place if a functional area / institution has commenced developing supports for student success. The activities and practices set out in the second column “CONSOLIDATING” build on and enhance those in the first column. In the third column “LEADING” the indicators described would be present in a functional area / institution that has made significant progress in embedding student success using a whole-of-institution approach.
Having read the Rubric, staff and students move the slider to a point on the scale that reflects where they would position the stage of development in embedding student success under this enabler. As they are reflecting on how student success is being supported, staff and students record the things they think their functional area / institution does well within this enabler, and identify areas for development. This feedback can be used to prioritise areas for development to enhance student success within the functional area / institution.
Staff and students will be able to download their own personal report once they have worked through all 12 enablers.
5. Action-based Implementation Plan
Agreeing High Level Targets and Actions
Using the findings and evidence identified from the ‘taking stock’ process, the whole-of-institution steering group should then consider where they want to go next. There are two stages in this process: ‘Looking to the future: Where do you want to be?’ and ‘Planning for the future: How will you get there?’
Looking to the future: Where do you want to be?
Using the findings and evidence identified from the ‘taking stock’ process, combined with consideration of the statements for each enabler, teams should identify high level enhancement institutional targets for a defined period of time. This should be sufficient to achieve meaningful change, but short enough to have an impact for most students (2 to 5 years). At this stage, the group declares key enhancement targets under each/some of the 12 enablers in the Student Success Framework. The enhancement priorities should be context sensitive, authentic and achievable.
Planning for the future: How will you get there?
Once the whole-of-institution steering group have identified the enhancement priorities that they will consider for the enhancement period, they should develop an action-based implementation plan (using the template provided in Appendix 5) which they will use in the achievement of identified future enhancement of student success enablers. The steering group should build a considered, well-resourced plan which shares responsibility across the institution, incorporates and prioritises specific components of the Embedding Student Success: A Guiding Framework and which includes how their identified targets and priorities will be evaluated, with key indicators of success. The plan should include milestones and review points to assist the steering group in managing and fulfilling the enhancement goals; milestones should be noted in quarters as opposed to monthly.
As a reality check, these goals can then be considered using the staff and student lenses, to ensure that the targets are inclusive.
The action-based implementation plan should be enabling, clear and well-resourced.
Implementing Your Plan
The steering group should communicate the agreed action-based implementation plan to all staff, students and other stakeholders. This is an important part of closing the feedback loop and will also inform staff and students of the planned enhancements. In addition, it will present the opportunities that will be provided to work in partnership to develop shared solutions and to ensure the identified high level institutional enhancement targets are achieved in the agreed timeframe.
The Student Success Partners within each functional area, in collaboration with their staff and students, must consider and connect, how the institutional priorities and implementation plan will be interpreted locally and identify local enhancement targets and actions. Again, these targets should be specific, realistic and resourced, and should be monitored locally to ensure progress is made. The Student Success Partner should report back to the whole-of-institution steering group on the progress made.
Regular reporting on progress from each functional area to the institutional steering group is essential to ensure continued progress against the Student Success implementation and that high level targets are achieved.
Embedding the process of continual enhancement
Embedding student success in a sustainable way requires that during the enhancement period, feedback received is used to refine and adjust the action-based implementation plan in order to achieve the identified high-level targets for student success. The institutional Student Success Lead should continually review progress and liaise with the Student Success Partners to identify and mitigate any unforeseen obstacles. At the end of the enhancement period, the whole-of-institution steering group should review the progress made, and mark and celebrate the progress towards embedding student success. The process of enhancement then continues, as the whole-of-institution steering group uses the Seven Cs Process to identify new enhancement targets to further embed student success across the institution during the next enhancement period.