A case study by Deloitte, titled “Closing the attainment gap at the University of North Carolina Greensboro: Uniting innovation and equity for student success,” has been released. Provost Dana Dunn explains that Deloitte contacted UNCG earlier this year to learn about its successful practices because of UNCG’s participation in the Gates-Foundation-funded Frontier Set project. Deliotte posted a resulting case study report and a shorter web post on Labor Day weekend. The case study states, “UNC Greensboro shows what is possible when an entire campus commits to student success and serves as a beacon for other institutions that wish to do the same.”
Deliotte emphasizes a long history of UNCG encouraging nontraditional students to pursue higher education. The case study focuses on UNCG achieving success in improving graduation rates for black and Hispanic students.
Deliotte notes that Chancellor Gilliam extended UNC Greensboro’s long-standing commitment to student success when he challenged the institution to take “giant steps” to further its vision and improve student outcomes.
It presents impressive data on the university’s efforts: “Overall completion rates have gradually increased with the largest gains among black and Hispanic students. Over six years (2010–2015) the graduation rate for black students increased from 52 percent to 63 percent; for Hispanic students, it went from 48 percent to 53 percent. Additionally, UNC Greensboro has closed the gap between Pell and non-Pell graduation rates to 5 percent, compared to a gap nationally of 14 percent.” Charts are shown for the two successes
In looking at how UNCG has achieved its impressive results, Deloitte studied how UNCG has worked to support students over the past decades and particularly in the past years. Three themes are presented:
1) “This is not a ‘hero’s journey.’ Rather, UNC Greensboro’s success reflects the collective efforts of an entire institution embracing the belief that by supporting its students with the right programs, they can and will persist. Distributed leadership spanning faculty, staff, and administrators has created a ‘culture of care’ infused into the institution’s daily work.”
The study gives the example of training by Student Affairs for faculty, staff and students to effectively identify students in need and refer them to the best resources.
2) “UNC Greensboro continually innovates through an iterative process to identify not only which resources impactfully support students, but how to deliver them as efficiently as possible.”
For examples, the study focuses on UNCG’s highly effective orientation for first year students, where a lot of offerings and support programs are presented, as well as the campus’ Student Success Center, including its highly effective Supplemental Instruction Program. Also, innovative use of data analysis by UNCG Admissions and Institutional Research is cited.
3) “As an extension of this innovation mindset, UNC Greensboro values community partnership and actively participates in a network of peer institutions that share a commitment to student.”
Co-admission agreements with a growing number of community colleges and UNCG’s collaborative role in the Union Square campus are just two examples. The study notes that UNCG leverages its membership in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and also in the Gates Foundation funded Frontier Set to boost student success, and cites its new Spartan StartUp summer bridge program and a new student success coaching initiative funded by the Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation.
The case study concludes, “UNC Greensboro’s success proves that innovation and equity can go hand-in-hand. With a history of leadership that places students in the center and practical innovations to drive a culture of care, UNC Greensboro shows what is possible when an entire campus commits to student success and serves as a beacon for other institutions that wish to do the same.”
By Mike Harris