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02Dec 2015

We’re excited to join Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at their annual meeting in Houston, Texas. This year’s theme is “New Energy for Higher Education”. Matt Boisvert, Michael Lewis, and Rachel Phillips-Buck will be exhibiting and hope you’ll stop by!

 

SACSCOC 2015

New Energy for Higher Education
December 5-8, 2015
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX

Will you be in attendance? Let us know and we’ll look forward to seeing you!

17Nov 2015

We were recently working with an institution and every time Matt and I talked about Early Alert as a positive resource for At-risk students, we were met with resistance. My insistence that there was no shame in being managed in an Early Alert program was met with looks of disbelief. Finally, after three days of working to reframe Early Alert, someone in the room said…

Students will never think that being identified as a Red-flag student is positive!

This was an epiphany. Wait. What? I am not talking about Red-flag students! Every time I said “At-risk students,” our clients were thinking “Red-flag students”. I am here to tell you, these are NOT the same thing! Continue reading

10Nov 2015

I bet you have some Dust Bunny Data at your campus. Don’t act like you don’t know what we are talking about. Dust Bunny Data is data that just sits around, unused, and collects dust. It took a lot of effort (and budget) to gather it, and the intention was that it would be a powerful tool to understand your students and inform your practices. But…no one ever looks at it.

That’s a problem. Continue reading

21Oct 2015

Today’s blog post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with Rachel Phillips-Buck, our VP for Student Success. It went something like this…

Rachel: Matt, I have a great example for your blog topic today. Can I share it?

Matt: Yes, please.

Rachel: Once, when I was visiting a campus, I got locked in a bathroom stall. When I finally managed to escape, I asked the students in the restroom if they knew the lock on that stall stuck. They said, “Yes, you just have to remember not to use it.”

Matt: Exactly what I want to talk about. Everyone knows the truth about your campus. You can’t hide the things that are old, broken, worn, outdated, or useless from your community. Everything on your campus tells the story of value, importance, and quality. Everything speaks.

Continue reading

13Oct 2015

I was an at-risk student

You will hear me say often, and loudly, that I was an at-risk student. I know what it feels like to not be living up to one’s potential. I am also intimately familiar with the feeling that no one on campus can see me; no one cares that I am not doing well, no one is paying attention to my struggling, and most devastating- that no one is offering me any help.

 

Automatic notice: You’re failing

iPhone Missed Class Think for just a second what it means to a student in that state of mind to receive an automatic email that says something like, “You have 5 absences in your history class. Please be advised that if you miss one more, you will be dropped from the class. If you have any questions, talk to your faculty or your advisor.”

 

It.

Is.

Crushing.

Continue reading

01Sep 2015

turbulence

/ˈtɜːbjʊləns/

noun

1. a state or condition of confusion, movement, or agitation; disorder

2. (meteorol) local instability in the atmosphere, oceans, or rivers

3. turbulent flow in a liquid or gas


Middle School – UGH!

It’s the start of a new school year. Which means this week I was instantly forced to accept that my oldest is now a middle schooler. He is getting older and I can’t hold him back. I realized as I was driving him to his new school that this transition was going to be difficult and stressful… it has been years since I worried about him at school. Now, there is so much to consider: new experiences, rules, processes, teachers, students, challenges…Last week, hundreds of new middle schoolers poured out of their parents’ cars and anxiously walked through the front doors alone. My son went in without me.

Continue reading

14Jul 2015
Saving One Student

Growing up I always had the incredible support from my family. My mom and dad never spared the praise whenever I would do something—no matter how small. We went on tons of family vacations and spent time together: on the lake, camping, at Six Flags, or even just playing Frisbee across the street at the park. It was always a fun adventure and my little sister and I never lacked support. We were always encouraged to do well and succeed. We were promised that, no matter what, we would have their undying love. My family life seemed like a perfect little bubble until my parents divorced. Continue reading

08Jul 2015

Today, we would like to extend a special spotlight to Abilene Christian University. If you’ve had the pleasure of reading our story then you know that Pharos Resources had its humble beginning within this amazing University. Thanks to the incredible collaborative efforts of these outstanding professionals, the concept of Early Alert was revolutionized.

 

And it all started with a simple idea:

“Retention is about equipping students and creating opportunities to engage in communities to keep them here.”

 

About seven years ago a group of faculty and staff began to realize that they needed a better way to identify students who were at-risk of not returning. Relying on midterm grades wasn’t enough; it’s far too late in the semester to make a significant turnaround. And even if the midterm grade doesn’t reflect it, the student may still be struggling. So a team was formed and they developed a system that could help identify and monitor students through various campus relationships.

Relying on midterm grades wasn’t enough; it’s far too late in the semester to make a significant turnaround.

Abilene Christian University recognized that using the close ties within the network of a small university they could care for students in a whole new way. And even after their system, S.O.S. (Support our Students), had been implemented the University continued both practice and intervention development. Continue reading

07Jul 2015

The mission of higher education should be more than simply delivering a lecture or providing academic counseling, then moving on to the next semester. While that might be your primary job description as a college professional, those who really make a difference believe that a great education is not just about education, it’s about care, compassion, and having a genuine stake in your students’ success.

Eight years ago two educators at Abilene Christian University started working together to make providing support to students a meaningful campus-wide initiative. Continue reading