Technology: The forgotten student success partner

When we talk about student success, we invoke many groups across campus -- faculty, student affairs and academic affairs among them. But technology is typically an afterthought.

“We tend to leave IT out of that mix; we think of them more as a support mechanism,” said Dr. Kevin Pollock, President of Montgomery County Community College. “But with changes in areas such as predictive analytics, IT is a key partner in student success and should be brought to the table from the beginning, as opposed to making decisions without them, then turning to them and saying ‘hey, can you do this?’”

Change is the new normal

“Technology is not the end-all answer,” Pollock acknowledged. “Higher education is changing rapidly in areas such as accountability -- we have new pressures from legislators and outside groups to prove results. Change is our new normal and we must be able to respond to that.”

Campus silos are a major barrier to adaptability. Technology and transfer are both examples of that -- areas that are central to student success but aren't included in strategic planning and decision-making.

“Tecnology and transfer are also part of student success,” Pollock said. “We need to be looking at it from a bigger picture. If we aren’t responding to these changes, these decisions will be made for us, and we may not like what they come up with.”

Pollock co-wrote an article on this theme (“IT: A Strategic Student Success Partner in Design, Implementation, and Assessment” with Dr. Celeste M. Schwartz and David Buck) which will be published in the October issue of SEMQ (Vol. 5, Issue 3). Pollock will also be discussing these ideas as the closing plenary speaker at the July Technology and Transfer Conference in New Orleans. Register here.