Kentucky Student Success Collaborative's Two Strategies to Accelerate Higher Education in Their State

At a Glance

On March 20, the Student Success Center Network (SSCN) attended the Association of American Colleges & Universities conference on diversity, equity, and student success to share approaches to accelerating progress in meeting students’ needs. Phyllis Clark and Beth Ann Collins, associate directors from the Kentucky Student Success Collaborative (KYSSC), discussed how they are using two essential strategies to accelerate the progress of Kentucky’s strategic agenda for higher education.

About the Program

The Student Success Center Network (SSCN) scales proven practices to help more than 4.5 million students earn credentials that lead to well-paying jobs. Nearly half of U.S. community colleges are connected to the Student Success Center Network.

Published apr. 19, 2023

[In a hexagon shape, two hands with palms upward holding a plant] Strategy 1: Equity by Design

The Kentucky Student Success Collaborative (KYSSC) has embraced the concept of “Equity by Design” and built a set of four principles to guide decision-making at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education in a way that prioritizes equity and ensures that programs, policies, and practices at postsecondary institutions remove barriers and provide support for all students.

Here's how the KYSSC described each of the principles as defined in their presentation, "Student Success Centers: Elevating Student Voice and their Truths for Institutional Transformation," at the AAC&U 2023 Conference:

Learn more about the SSCN and how you get involved

Learn More
  • “Prioritize student voice. We believe that student voice is paramount as it can provide substantive information related to what students think, feel, and are going through as it relates to what they perceive is the promise of their experience with our program, project, or institution.”
  • “Promote culturally competency engagement. We believe that contributing to the development of culturally competent members of our higher education community is critical to the aims of equitable outcomes in higher education.”
  • “Ensure diverse project teams. We believe that representation and diversity in thought, perspective, and experience enrich the development of projects and connections to others and is critical to effective programming in support of underrepresented populations.”
  • “Disaggregate data. We believe disaggregating data undergirds, informs, and gives us a direction for our work on high priority areas so that we can move toward desired equitable outcomes.”

[A gear icon with an arrow going clockwise and pointing to a lightbulb. There is an arrow pointing from the lightbulb back to the gear again in a cyclical fashion.] Strategy 2: Continuous Improvement

The KYSSC also adopted a continuous improvement approach to move institutions from piloting projects to large-scale fundamental change. Continuous improvement is a structured process that helps organizations learn from their experiences to make practices and processes better. To learn more about implementing a continuous improvement strategy, check out this example of a Plan-Do-Study-Act testing model from Shift, which offers free change management tools for campus leaders.

Clark and Collins said they’re confident that the Equity by Design principles and the continuous improvement approach work together to help shift the mindset of Kentucky’s postsecondary leaders and facilitate rapid improvement.