New Resource to Strengthen Student Supports, Increase Completion

A new resource developed by Achieving the Dream was released at ATD’s Holistic Student Supports Institute, where more than 320 community college leaders convened in St. Louis this week to redesign support services to help all students reach their goals.

The Holistic Student Supports Redesign Toolkit is designed for community college faculty and leadership to guide colleges in breaking down barriers between academic and nonacademic supports to provide a seamless, high quality, and personalized experience that ensures that more students, particularly students of color and low-income students, can achieve their goals. It describes a four-stage student supports redesign journey that includes discovery and design, early implementation, mature implementation, and institutionalization and sustainability. Each of the ten chapters offers practical guidance and tips for successfully navigating the journey. Appendices provide sample intake forms, technology checklists and guidelines to help colleges benefit from peers’ experiences.

“The toolkit offers readers a thorough grounding in the philosophy of holistic student supports, what they are, and how they can be designed or redesigned with intention of supporting all students in achieving their academic, career and personal goals,” says Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges offer students support services, but they often feel disconnected and less helpful than they’re intended to be. We have reached the point that colleges need to rethink and redesign the way they offer supports.”

Achieving the Dream’s leadership in holistic student supports has grown through ATD’s work on two major initiatives: Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS)  and the Working Students Success Network (WSSN). In iPASS, ATD and EDUCAUSE guided 36 two-year and four-year institutions in comprehensive efforts to strengthen student advising. In WSSN, ATD guided 19 two-year institutions to systematically weave together a range of career, social, and personal support services, creating a comprehensive approach to addressing students’ in- and out-of-classroom needs. Lessons from both research and practice through iPASS and WSSN have informed ATD’s holistic supports approach.

The toolkit can be found here.

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