UTSA Faculty and Staff Exchange Insights with Peer Institutions about Student Success

September 29, 2017

Stakeholders from across the university meet to discuss student success.

(Stakeholders from across the university meet to discuss student success.)

Written by: Nicole Duff, Communications Specialist

Faculty and staff from various departments and offices across the University of Texas at San Antonio convened in the Office of Information Technology (OIT) Learning Studio (BB earlier this week to exchange insights with peer institutions about best practices and technology initiatives to foster student success.

The convening, which was facilitated by OIT, enabled stakeholders from Academic Advising, University College, the Tomas Rivera Center, the First-Year Experience Program, the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the College of Education and Human Development to engage in a group viewing of a two-day student success webinar hosted by EDUCAUSE.

The webinar focused on the theme “Addressing Student Success: Exploring Technology Enabled Advising” and featured presentations by 25 leaders from higher education institutions and organizations across the U.S. such as Georgia State University, Arizona State University, and Tyton Partners.

During the event, the UTSA team learned about some of the innovative technologies that its peer institutions have implemented as part of the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) initiative as well as their experiences with these tools. This initiative aims to leverage technology to transform advising and increase student retention and success.

“These technologies are allowing advisors to become more proactive,” said Barbara Smith, executive director of Academic Advising. “They also enable us to spot and connect with students before they become at-risk or off-course. Students have access to their degree plan and resources 24/7 and this helps them make more informed decisions.”

Some of these technologies used in Academic Advising include the degree planning and auditing tool DegreeWorks and the Education Advisory Board’s Student Success Collaborative Campus (EAB/SSC-Campus). The latter features predictive analytics, which helps advisors to easily identify and assist at-risk students.

“The use of predictive analytics, technologies such as DegreeWorks and SSC Campus, and evidence-based practices in academic advising positively impact student success,” said Tammy Wyatt, associate vice provost for Student Success. “I was excited to hear that UTSA is in good company as it pertains to using these technologies and that like our peer institutions, we also have experienced similar challenges and successes.”

The webinar helped spark a conversation amongst the UTSA team about its current student success strategies including the Coordinated and Linked Approaches to Student Success (CLASS) initiative and the importance of having faculty buy-in with using the iPASS technologies.

“This summit was an excellent way to get faculty, and staff including advisors at all levels together to network with their peers at institutions around the country,” said Vanessa Hammler Kenon, associate vice provost for information technology and principal investigator of the UTSA iPASS project. “These peer institutions have been highly successful with student success initiatives.”

UTSA, along with 23 other higher education institutions, is a recipient of the iPASS grant, which has assisted with the implementation of these innovative advising technologies. The grant is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The UTSA iPASS project involves cross-campus collaboration with OIT, Academic Advising, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Institutional Research.


To learn more about the UTSA iPASS project, click here.

To learn more about EDUCAUSE, click here.

To learn more about the CLASS initiative, click here.