The ritual of New Years can be a helpful reminder to reflect and identify new practices that can improve your daily life. I’ve been thinking a lot about the habits that make life better right now: meditation, exercise, creative practices, etc.
Organizational habits are systems. One quote in Atomic Habits that has stuck with me is “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
Campuses have their own habits and ceremonies that trigger behavior and impact outcomes. While graduation and commencement might come to mind as organizational ceremonies, there are other ritualized moments that have an even greater impact on our outcomes: annual reports force us to review our data; retreats and charrettes enable us to build relationships and clarity about the direction we’re moving towards; accreditation processes ensure we put our house in order and deliver what we said we would. Institutional habits can have a major impact on a campus' ability to drive change.
So, as we wade deeper into the new year and navigate the next chapter of higher education, I invite you to think about the kinds of institutional habits we can establish to ensure we improve student success.
- Which habits can help institutions eliminate their equity gaps?
- What data should institutions focus on, and what should prompt them to take action?
- How and when should institutions identify new problems to solve?
- How can we brainstorm solutions and pressure-test them before we jump into implementation?
- How do we keep our energy up for the long days ahead (here’s one energy booster)?
Maybe this isn’t the year for a big personal goal for you. Yet, in a time when people need purpose and clarity at work, what if we finally identify habits we can incorporate into our annual academic calendar to hold ourselves accountable for doing the necessary work that will help us improve our students' lives? What habits should your institution consider adding this year?
I’d love to post some of your ideas on our blog to spark new thinking and new habits in the UIA and beyond.
Supporting Student Success By Addressing Their Basic Needs
Does your institution still have American Rescue Plan (HEERF III/ARP) funds remaining from the U.S. Department of Education?
Consider allocating your funding to assist your underserved students in meeting their basic needs. The US Department of Education published new guidance to further assist institutions seeking to provide financial assistance to students with basic needs. The linked document provides examples of how colleges and universities can use the institutional portion of HEERF grants to make initial investments into basic needs supports for students and expand the reach of existing supports to help students navigate financial challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including insecurity with housing, food, and childcare.
When our UIA member institutions aren’t busy helping underserved students directly, they can usually be found contributing their academic expertise to the field!
This month, we are thrilled to share that two UIA fellows published articles in the most recent issue of the NACADA Journal. Former Purdue Fellow, Sheila F. Hurt, published a first-author article exploring the question, “Should Students with AP Credit Repeat Coursework in College? A Multilevel Analysis.” Current Ohio State Fellow, Kaity Prieto, co-authored an article on “Navigating College with MAAPS: Students' Perceptions of a Proactive Advising Approach.”
Our UCF colleagues also published an article featured in the November 2021 issue of NACE Journal highlighting their college-to-career redesign BGEE project on “Fostering Faculty Champions for Student Career Readiness.”
A scholar-practitioner with over 19 years of experience in higher education, Chastity D. Gaither has served in the role of University Innovation Alliance (UIA) Fellow at Michigan State University (MSU) since March 2020. Chastity shared, “One of the things that excites me about serving in the fellow role is not only do I get to serve the students at MSU, but I am also afforded the opportunity to collaborate as well as share knowledge and resources with other UIA intuitions across the nation.”
Learn with Us
- Higher Education Leaders: Setting Intentions for 2022
- 10 Winter Break Reads for Higher Education Leaders
Want more? Check out all of our weekly blog posts and podcast episodes.
We know your time is limited. That's why each issue, we'll choose THE BEST things we watched, listened to, or read.
Brené with Amy Cuddy on Pandemic Flux Syndrome (Dare to Lead with Brené Brown podcast)
Overcoming Resistance to New Ideas, with David Schonthal (Coaching for Leaders podcast)
Ecological Validation: Taking the Initiative to Create a Sense of Belonging (Pullias Center for Higher Education)
How Innovators Get traction with Tendayi Viki (Coaching for Leaders podcast)
Dr. Laurie Santos on Creating Meaningful Connection at Work (Dare to Lead with Brené Brown podcast)
Events to Put on Your Radar
March 5 - 7, 2022
ACE Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
Deadline to register: February 11, 2022
March 7 - 10, 2022
SXSW EDU Conference & Festival
Deadline to register: January 13, 2022
March 17 - 19, 2022
AAC&U Conference on Diversity, Equity & Student Success
New Orleans, LA
Deadline to register: February 23, 2022
March 19 - 23, 2022
NASPA Annual Conference
Deadline to register: February 18, 2022
April 4 - 6, 2022
ASU + GSV Summit
San Diego, CA
Deadline to register: April 3, 2022
Stuff We Love
- Seriously comfortable face masks made of recycled material
- Current favorite portable webcam light
- Workout pants that look like business pants
- On a health kick? Check out this Avocado seat belt to keep them fresh.
- Finally, a phone wallet that doesn’t let your cards fall out!
"We’ve really got to focus even more attention on the equity gaps that have been so stubborn between our underrepresented students and other students."