Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D., today launched an important new resource for higher education: Seven Cs for Embedding Student Success: A Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions (Seven Cs Toolkit). The toolkit, developed by the National Forum in partnership with the Higher Education Authority and a National Advisory Group, aims to support the higher education community to take whole-of-institution approaches to the continuous enhancement of student success.
The toolkit includes resources to enable each institution to take stock of how student success is currently embedded in their context, and to identify what works well and what needs further enhancement. It challenges institutions to consider the impact of existing and potential policies, practices and actions on all staff and students. The toolkit outlines a process for embedding student success centred on Seven Cs: Commit, Collaborate, Community, Consensus, Communicate, Connect and Continuing. Full details of the Seven Cs process are available here.
Using the Seven Cs process, institutions are guided to consider how the national understanding of student success can best be interpreted in their own contexts and how the enablers of student success, as outlined in Embedding Student Success: A Guiding Framework, can best be implemented. Each institution is encouraged to develop a shared vision for student success across their local higher education community.
Speaking at the toolkit launch, Dr Terry Maguire, National Forum Director said:
“The launch of this toolkit represents the culmination of a number of years of partnership with the HEA and wider sector, which saw us shift national thinking from a focus on why students leave higher education to why students stay, what helps them succeed and what success means to them. The toolkit is a single, user-friendly resource which prompts higher education institutions to rise to the challenge of capturing what success really means to their students and how they can enable it. It embraces a holistic approach to student learning, growth and development, recognising that student learning experiences span life within and outside of the classroom. The National Forum is committed to working with the higher education sector, including all those who learn, teach and lead, and delivering on the promise of student success for all higher education students”.
HEA’s Head of Access Policy, Caitríona Ryan, welcomed the launch of the new resource and in particular, its whole-of-institution approach. She said:
“This toolkit will guide institutions in their understanding of what ‘student success’ looks like. It embraces student diversity and recognises that student success can mean different things and that there are many paths that lead to success. By taking the time to reflect on what enables success through many different lenses, it recognises that everyone in the higher education system has a role to play. This view of student success is evident throughout the extensive consultation process that took place earlier this year as part of the development of the next National Access Plan”.
The Seven Cs Toolkit comprises four components, all of which help to guide higher education communities to embed student success in a manner reflective of the institutional culture and context:
- The statements extend each of the enablers outlined in Embedding Student Success: A Guiding Framework and can be used to initiate discussions, disrupt and challenge context-bound thinking and promote enhancement.
- The questions for reflection provide an opportunity for institutions to think about each enabler more deeply and to consider key actions such as communications, leadership, impact and evaluation.
- The lenses ensure that the diversity of all staff and students is considered at every stage of the process of enhancement. This requires that planned policies, processes and activities be ‘road tested’ for their impact across the diversity of the whole staff and student population.
- The rubrics and associated digital tool facilitate each institution in a process of ‘taking stock’ to identify their starting point for planning enhancement and to gather actionable feedback. In addition, they help to capture what different staff and students think currently supports student success and what areas require further enhancement.
This Seven Cs Toolkit will help institutional communities to collaboratively agree approaches that support the continual enhancement of student success into the future. We extend heartfelt gratitude to all the students, staff and leaders who have been so instrumental in bringing the sector to this point and look forward to continuing our collaboration in the coming years.
Full details of the Seven Cs Toolkit and associated components is available here. The Seven C’s Toolkit is available with a CC-BY licence, meaning that all the associated components can be adapted for use in each local context.