ACE Learner Success Lab Participants Highlight Program’s Successes
July 07, 2022

After completing​ ACE’s Learner Success Lab (LSL) program in June, participants are sharing how its comprehensive change management process has benefited their institutions and student populations. ​

Iowa State University (ISU), one of 10 institutions in the inaugural cohort, highlighted in a blog post how its participation enabled the institution to create a roadmap for improving student success over the next decade. Recommendations from the initiative on using data to drive retention and completion informed ISU’s recently approved strategic plan.

“The legacy of the Learner Success Lab project is a framework that will help us continually improve how we work together, across units and divisions, to serve students’ needs,” said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs at ISU. “It’s fulfilling our promise to do everything we can to help students not only reach the finish line of completing their degrees, but prepare them for lifelong professional success.”

Additionally, Massasoit Community College, Elon University, and Union Institute & University (UI&U) shared how their participation led to site-specific transformations. Massasoit worked to advance its ambitious goals for improving student retention and graduation rates and enhancing sustainable academic and support structures, and Elon developed a holistic mentoring constellation model to drive its strategic plan. UI&U centered its work on comprehensively examining the student journey, existing support structures, and how best to retain and support its learners.

“As we navigated a new process, built relationships, and had frank discussions on what we were doing well and areas to improve, ACE—and particularly our ACE adviser—helped us stay grounded in our mission, encouraged our desire to strengthen community through collaboration, and provided doable, concrete recommendations to help take our institution forward,” said Sarah Wallis, director of academic grants and projects at UI&I.

Mary Churchill, an LSL advisor and associate dean for strategic initiatives and community engagement at Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University, praised in a blog post the effectiveness of the program and emphasized the importance of campus-wide future-oriented work.

“In challenging times like these, it is tempting to delay work that involves institutional change,” Churchill writes. “At these institutions, this process created a collaborative space for faculty, staff, administration, and students to work together to create a vision for a future with increased learner success, reminding us of why we are here and of the importance of the work we are doing.”

Originally conceived as a pilot program based on ACE’s Internationalization Laboratory, the success of the first cohort demonstrates the LSL’s effectiveness at applying a comprehensive framework to help institutions develop a well-rounded strategy for learner success. Key activities within the 18-month process include an initial campus visit to help prepare institutions for self-assessment, three milestone meetings to assess progress and plan next steps, and a peer review visit conducted toward the end of the lab that allows for reflection.

Applications are now open for Cohort 3, which launches this fall. Interested institutions can apply here or submit an inquiry to receive more information.​

Applications Now Open

Apply now to join the next cohort of the ACE Learner Success Lab, launching fall 2022.

Submit Application​