Holistic Student Supports

WHAT IS "HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORTS"?

 

Supporting the student experience from connection through completion requires more than offering a wide menu of student programs and services.  As colleges across the country embrace guided pathways, implement advising technologies, and rethink what it means for students to be college and career ready, it is imperative that colleges are operating with an intentional student-centered design that allows for the maximization of limited resources in support of student success and equity at scale. Through our work with more than 100 institutions across the nation, we discovered that the most effective way to support students in getting on their path and staying on their path to academic and career success is through a holistic student supports approach.

What is a Holistic Student Supports Approach?

A holistic student supports approach is the intentional planning and integration of mission critical student academic and personal supports. This is different from simply offering a multitude of disparate services for designated populations of students. Providing holistic student supports requires that institutions become student-ready by integrating and enhancing myriad support services into a seamless, timely, and personal experience for every student.

 

To achieve this, institutions need to design, implement, evaluate, and sustain: 

  1. a comprehensive advising program and student support model 
  2. the development of a scalable case management model
  3. the use of a change leadership framework to engage the campus community and continue to refine the institution's approach
  4. assessing, optimizing, and improving technology use to include using technology to scale supports, improve operations, and generate actionable data for ongoing process improvement.

Download our Holistic Student Supports Redesign Toolkit here.

How Holistic Student Supports Redesign Aligns with Guided Pathways

A growing emphasis on guided pathways has colleges increasingly looking to redesign critical support services, such as advising and academic planning, to ensure that more students can reach their educational and career goals. However, a comprehensive approach to guided pathways that realizes its full potential is not complete without a holistic approach to student supports that goes beyond advising and planning redesigns. It is possible, however, for a college to move forward with the thoughtful and purposeful implementation of holistic student supports without committing to guided pathways.
Ready to get started? Learn more about how Achieving the Dream can help accelerate your holistic student supports redesign efforts at www.AchievingtheDream.org/HSSCoaching.

Download our Holistic Student Supports Redesign Toolkit here.

View a recording of the March 6, 2020 webinar on Equity in Design for HSS: What We're Learning

 

View a recording of March 13, 2020 webinar on Equity in Design for HSS: A Gateway to College for High School Students

 

View a recording of March 20, 2020 webinar on Equity in Design for HSS: Increasing Success for Student Mothers at Community Colleges

 

 

 

View a recording of March 27, 2020 webinar on Equity in Design for HSS: Supporting the Success of Students Enrolled Part-Time

 

 

 

“One of the most promising practices for our campus in the past six months is the redesign and streamlining of advising services and workforce student support program services allowing us to implement greater integration, cross-training, and inter-departmental collaboration. We believe this new design will aid us in efficiently and effectively scaling our services to our fullest potential.”                                                                          - Walla Walla Community College

Resources

  • A SERIES OF FOUR BRIEFS EXAMINING THE SUPPORT NEEDS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT POPULATIONS: EQUITY IN DESIGN FOR HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORTS

    Part-Time Students Need Full-Time Support.

    As with other student populations community colleges serve, part-time students often face multiple challenges that present additional barriers to completion, including unfamiliarity with the college experience, parenthood, and food and housing insecurity.

    Community colleges have historically opened their doors to all those interested in pursuing higher education, but even as their student populations have changed, too many of their structures are still built around serving the “traditional” college student—the first-time, full-time 18-year-old who is now a distinct minority on today’s campuses.

    Given that they represent the majority of their student populations, improving outcomes for part-time students is vital for institutions to meet their goals of improving equity in outcomes and the broader economic imperative of increasing overall postsecondary attainment. And while many institutions have made efforts to encourage more part-time students to shift to full-time status, the reality of students’ lives means that this can only be a limited part of the solution, particularly since part-time enrollment growth is projected to outpace that of full-time students through much of this decade.

    Download the slides and view the March 27, 2020 webinar

     

     

  • A SERIES OF FOUR BRIEFS EXAMINING THE SUPPORT NEEDS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT POPULATIONS: EQUITY IN DESIGN FOR HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORTS

     

    A growing number of community and technical colleges have made significant commitments to designing and sustaining supportive learning environments that help all students, including student mothers, realize their potential while also integrating the necessary academic, career, and personal supports that make it possible for an increasingly vulnerable student population—many of whom face food and housing insecurity, along with financial and family challenges—to realize their goals. 

    ATD is deeply committed to supporting institutions in developing a holistic student supports approach that embraces the interconnectedness of academic and personal supports to ensure that students receive the supports they need to succeed in college. While there is no one-size fits-all approach to providing these supports, community colleges which have been successful at transforming their institutions to meet the needs of the students they serve have focused on a few common strategies. They have sought to understand the specific needs of their students. They are clear about the problems that they are trying to solve within their unique contexts. And they intentionally design solutions that address those problems head on, rather than implementing incremental, piecemeal solutions and initiatives.

    Download the slides and view the March 20, 2020 webinar

     

     

  • A SERIES OF FOUR BRIEFS EXAMINING THE SUPPORT NEEDS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT POPULATIONS: EQUITY IN DESIGN FOR HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORTS

     

    Every adolescent faces challenges as they navigate their teenage years, but for some these challenges imperil their ability to complete their education. While these four students’ experiences are dramatically different, they have one thing in common: high school didn’t work for them, meaning that each faced long odds of ever attaining a diploma, much less a postsecondary credential with value in the workplace. And while each recognized the challenges they would face without finishing high school, they also didn’t see many options within their existing school settings.

    While “early college” initiatives and dual or concurrent enrollment programs have expanded dramatically to support low income and first-generation students, they focus primarily on young people who are enrolled and making progress in high school, not those who are struggling—or who have dropped out.

    Growing numbers of community colleges are recognizing the importance of serving disconnected youth.

    View the March 13, 2020 webinar on Equity in Design for HSS: A Gateway to College for High School Students

    Resource Files

    AttachmentSize
    disconnected_youth_brief.pdf3.07 MB
  • A SERIES OF FOUR BRIEFS EXAMINING THE SUPPORT NEEDS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT POPULATIONS: EQUITY IN DESIGN FOR HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORTS

     

    The complexity and scope of the challenges today’s students face explain why community and technical colleges across the country are reexamining the student experience and the support services they provide. As open access institutions, community and technical colleges by their very existence open the doors of higher education and workforce training programs to students who may otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue. Yet, even as the beginnings of these colleges were rooted in the ideal of making education less exclusive, colleges are struggling with how to design a supportive learning environment that helps all student populations they serve—many of whom experience food and housing insecurity, along with financial and family challenges—to realize their goals.

    Through our work with over 150 colleges, Achieving the Dream is deeply committed to supporting institutions in designing a holistic student supports approach that ensures all students receive what
    they need to achieve their goals. We know from this work that colleges not prepared for the magnitude of the changes required to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body can often end up struggling to make real progress.

    View the March 6, 2020 webinar

    Resource Files

    AttachmentSize
    what_were_learning.pdf3.99 MB
  • Four case studies of colleges student supports redesign recast through the Holistic Student Supports lens.

    This document includes an introduction to the theory and practice behind holistic student services along with four case studies of colleges that are well along in moving to adopt it. The colleges were part of a recently concluded learning initiative, ATD’s Working Student Success Network, that, among other strategies, targeted lower-income students at 19 colleges with integrated services. Their experiences moved us forward in framing the holistic student services approach. 

    Our hope is that these case studies provide concrete examples of how other colleges have approached this work and will generate discussion about how to engage in the support services redesign process.

    Resource Files

    AttachmentSize
    hss_wssn_case_study.pdf1.11 MB
  • Helping more students achieve their dreams involves identifying a wider set of student needs—including financial challenges and family responsibilities—and offering redesigned support services to meet them holistically. This holistic student supports approach emphasizes the need for colleges to redefine the way they understand, design, integrate with academics, and deliver the services that are critical for the success of every student.

    The goal of this toolkit is to guide institutions in redesigning student supports in an integrated, collaborative, and holistic way that enables students to progress along their educational and career pathways.

    This toolkit provides evidence-based, practitionertested tools, tips, and guides that help an institution from initial exploration of their needs through to successful evaluation and refinement. It aids institutions in their planning and execution of a more personal, seamless, and comprehensive support experience that fully equips students to learn and to succeed in achieving their goals. It charts a deep dive into the essential elements that are relevant for all colleges to consider and use. To ensure the toolkit is useful in practice, we recommend that it be read and used in chronological order. However, each chapter can be read as a stand-alone guide if your college is focused on a particular aspect of student supports.

    This is the toolkit in full and the below Word documents are editable templates for the corresponding chapters within the toolkit.

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