Student Connections partners with postsecondary institutions to innovate new student success technology

Adaptive learning and interactive platform creates ‘virtual personal assistant’ for students

 
INDIANAPOLIS
— Student Connections℠, a nonprofit affiliate of USA Funds®, is considering additional colleges and universities for participation in a partnership program that is helping to optimize its latest product, Success Center. The partnership program marks the final development phase of the app-based solution for strengthening nonacademic skills that support college persistence and completion.

A diverse group of institutions has joined the program, including Indiana University, Harris-Stowe State University, the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and cuLearn, a division of Thrivent. However, limited positions remain in the innovation partnership program, which affords participating institutions discounted, early access to Success Center. This includes distribution of the “virtual personal assistant” interactive learning app, WhichWay, to members of their student populations. Administrators should contact Stephen Queisser, vice president of Strategic Partnerships for Student Connections, at steve.q@studentconnections.org or (317) 806-0215 for more information about participating.

The Success Center concept is based on research conducted with postsecondary institutions around the country. This research was driven by advisory boards of students and academic experts from schools that include Indiana University, Ball State University, Marian University, Western Michigan University, and the University of Dayton.

“Understanding the diverse needs of students is imperative in creating meaningful and effective student engagement,” said Daniel J. Elsener, president of Marian University. “Success Center offers a novel approach to developing nonacademic skills important to student persistence and graduation, and it is our pleasure to help shape its development.”
“As college students, we loved being a part of something that will aid and educate other college students in their academic and professional careers,” said Nadine Hashem, president of Pi Sigma Epsilon at Ball State University. “Being able to see and participate in the expansion of the WhichWay app from just an idea to an actual digital application is a very rewarding experience, and we cannot wait to see WhichWay in active use.”

“Our work in helping schools address issues like loan management and default, which can become formidable barriers to the lifetime of opportunities sought by students of higher education, underscores the need for continual innovation,” said Craig P. Anderson, president of Student Connections. “We know dropout rates correlate with default rates, so we wanted to create a powerful retention and engagement tool that institutions can use to support student success more proactively than ever before.”

Success Center offers an interactive, modular approach to developing nonacademic skills, like financial literacy, that are important to academic success. Its technology includes a student engagement app that will function as a “virtual personal assistant” for students, offering dynamic content that is continuously optimized according to their individual needs. For institutions, Success Center creates a cloud-based platform that integrates seamlessly with traditional student outreach while generating the usage data needed for ROI measurement and improvement.
Currently available modules focus on helping students successfully manage the demands placed on their personal finances and time. Innovation partner schools will have access to student survey results and other data that yield valuable insights about challenges and opportunities related to nonacademic barriers to successful completion. Administrators will have the opportunity to test prototypes, including new modules, and shape the ongoing development of the program.

ABOUT STUDENT CONNECTIONS
Recognizing that students follow a variety of paths and encounter different obstacles in their quest for a higher education, Student Connections offers innovative solutions, developed in collaboration with higher education institutions and students, to provide relevant and engaging resources throughout the student life cycle. Student Connections partners with postsecondary institutions to support the success of more than 2.2 million current and former students across more than 900 campuses throughout the U.S. Student Connections is an affiliate of USA Funds and directly supports its nonprofit focus on Completion With a Purpose®, enhancing student success in college and career. For more information about Student Connections, visit studentconnections.org, or follow Student Connections on Twitter at @StuConnections, on Facebook and on LinkedIn.

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