The Logic of Creating Effective Systemic Change: How Five CBD Case Study Colleges Have Gone About Creating a Culture of Student Success

Community college leaders across the country are asking how they can transform their institutions to support student success and completion.  In its work with the Completion by Design initiative, MDRC is addressing the question of what makes for such systemic transformation. One thing seems clear: Changing the experiences of students means changing both the activities and the mind-sets of the advisors, instructors, and other members of the campus community with whom students come in contact. 

This 2014 white paper identifies eight factors that the literature suggests are critical for fostering the shifts in attitudes and beliefs among faculty and staff that are needed for change to take hold: flexible vision, senior leadership, distributed leadership, communication and engagement, incentives, professional development, visible actions, and resources. The paper illustrates these points with on-the-ground examples from five case study colleges participating in the Completion by Design initiative.

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