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Impacting student success

Blue Hen Success Collaborative building momentum

The Blue Hen Success Collaborative — the University of Delaware’s new academic advising and student support system — successfully completed the second phase of its pilot program, finishing the testing period and paving the way for full implementation on campus next fall.

"The Blue Hen Success Collaborative plays an important role in helping advance student success," said University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis. "It is already helping advisers connect with students in more meaningful ways and coordinate efforts across campus. I am eager to move toward full implementation of the collaborative so we can realize our goal of enhancing student support and boosting graduation rates.”  

The BHSC is a powerhouse combining predictive analytics, real-time data, consulting and networking to help advisers recognize and intervene with students who need extra support. Approximately 150 users tested the BHSC’s tools and functionality over the fall and spring semesters, including faculty, staff advisers and department chairs from all colleges as well as staff from support offices.

The collaborative has already had a strong impact in enhancing advising interactions: To date, advisers have logged 14,000 student-advising appointments in the system and created over 5,000 advisement notes. To improve written communication with students, SUCCESS templates are available on a variety of academic topics ranging from course registration to academic standing and graduation. The messages, developed in consultation with UD faculty and staff, have been designed with best practices in mind for high readability and email open rates.

In addition, the newly added student referral feature has allowed advisers to easily connect a student with other support services at UD, such as those provided by the Dean of Students, Student Financial Services, Career Services, the Office of Academic Enrichment, Disability Support Services and others. In this way the BHSC is helping to provide a coordinated student care network on campus.

Phase two of the pilot also introduced a select group of students to the platform. University Studies students were able to log in and schedule appointments with their advisers. Users logged over 1,300 meetings, half of them proactively scheduled by the students themselves.

The Education Advisory Board, the firm that developed the system adopted by UD and other colleges and universities, returned to campus this semester to present UD’s historical trends, highlighting areas where the data can inform curricular decision making. For example, department chairs can examine which courses have high drop/fail/withdrawal rates; what majors are seeing longer time-to-degree; and at which point along their path students are leaving the University and how intervention efforts could help.

“Economic and population demographic changes have forced institutions of higher education to rethink traditional modes of advisement and enrollment management,” said David Wilson, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The BHSC will provide us with powerful data for curricular and personnel planning and operational efficiencies. We certainly hope to ensure students’ success, but we also hope the data will ensure staff, faculty, and University success as well.”

The BHSC leadership team is planning a go-live date of Sept. 18, when all faculty and pertinent staff, along with additional students, will have access to the system. The team is planning an array of fall trainings and targeted communications to support the system’s full release.  

Chris Lucier, vice president for enrollment management, said, “There has been great enthusiasm around this new ability to easily obtain valuable student data and to target interventional measures on the students who need them the most. That has given us strong momentum and I would say we are ahead of schedule in implementing the BHSC.”

For more information about the Blue Hen Success Collaborative, visit the website.

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