Driving Social Mobility at Dominican University

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Barrington Price, Vice President for Student Success and Engagement at Dominican University, joined the podcast to discuss social mobility strategies as a deliberate enrollment growth practice.

All students can experience academic success.Learning is a biological process and success is really influenced by students perception of theirown ability. And if you believe those three things, that will drive allthe innovation that you need. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment attheir college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategiesor tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get intothe show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of theconnect e Tou podcast network. I'm Eric Olson with Helix Education and we're heretoday with Dr Barrington Price, Vice Presidents for student success and engagement at DominicanUniversity. Dr Price, welcome to the show. Thank you so much forhaving me today. Really excited to have you here and talk with you todayabout social mobility strategies as an enrollment growth practice. But before we dig in, can you give the listeners a little bit of background on both Dominican Universityand your role there? Yes, so I serve as the vice president forstudent success and engagement here at Dominican University. Dominican University is situated in Riverforest,Illinois, which is just outside the city of Chicago. Will Small LiberalArts private institution with an undergraduate enrollment of about two thousand undergraduate students and thena graduate population of a bout of thousand. We're also very proud to be aHispanic serving institution with his designation that we've had for some time now.Love it, love it. Dr Price to kick us off today with demographicrealities that points to a significant drop in our traditional student population over the nextdecade. How important is it becoming for Higher D to develop these social mobilitystrategies at their own institutions? Well,...

...it's that's a wonderful question and agreat way to start this conversation and I think as we think about social mobility, whether we were defining it as a five issue item or seven issue item, where twelve issue item. Social Mobility is a reality that higher education institutionsface and we like to think of ourselves as an engine that drive social mobility, moving individuals students, using education as a platform to move students towards resolvingsome of the barriers and Covid nineteen has been one that has highlighted some ofthe barriers and the gaps in terms of social mobility and access to those socialdeterminants of health that our society faces, and I think this is really centeredin an ethical one. So we know, and that occation what a degree cando for individuals. We have mountains of data to support that and soas we think about social mobility, I think all of us that are inthis sector and in this industry have have an ethical obligation to now spread thoseopportunities to individuals. We've talked long about creating access and cree opening the dooris wider and I think for the last fifteen, twenty years higher Ed hasdone a good job of incrementally doing that. But historically we've built this valuation systemand Higher Ed where we value certain tenants, we value act and satscores that present students in a certain light, and I think that valuation system hasleading us towards this particular perceptual clift. So the thought is, what ifwe just change the way that we evaluate system? Not that we doaway with standardized testing, but we use those standardized tests as a way topivot and respond to students academic needs and what if we pivoted in a waythat, in responding to those academic needs,...

...we can innovate and walk alongside studentsas they're thinking about pursuing education? So that fundamental shift in and wideningthe doors and who who can have an experience academic shift is really the cruxof this conversation around social mobility and one that many higher education institutions are wrestlingwith and one that Dominican University essentially proud to be a thought leader on thatparticular item. I love that metaphor of seeing yourself as an engine for socialmobility. Let's talk about finding new passengers to get on our trains that maynot have fought or believed they could afford in the best. Talk about yourapproach for finding and recruiting lower income, yet right fit students that you believecan succeeded to Manigaan. That's right, what a wonderful metaphor getting more studentson the train. So let me start by talking about this belief system right, because for institutions to engage in this type of work, there has tobe some fundamental truths that we all agree on. One of those is thatall students can experience academic success, thinking about this as one's ability or one'sability to experience those or why a person can experience academic success. Fundamentally,we think that academic success has nothing to do with the ability, generally speaking, and as more closely aligned with students, having had time in one's career tothe developed the academic skills that they need for the challenges of higher it. And so, within that construct, you know, how do we thinkabout again restructuring learning environments which Tapp into these neural pathways which we know exists, where students, or other ways of putting that is, sort of findingways to relate the content to the way...

...in which students think and know andengage as an everyday part of their experience? Sus the first. The second iswe know that learning is a biological process, right. That has beennoted well throughout the field of psychology about how the process of learning works andhow memory retrieval works, and we know that our students, all students,can learn. Why? Because they continue to grow and mature as individuals.So the obstacle of learning is not a barrier. The third thing that wethink about is success for our students is influenced by the way in which theyrelate to the process of learning, and let me spend a second there talkingabout that. So academic success is really driven in large part by students perceptionof their own ability, and I like to frame this as students academic selfor the way in which they conceptualize themselves well as learners. So within thatconstruct we think about student volition or movement towards completion of some task in aparticular discipline. Well, there's a bit of dissonance that happens when a student'sperception of themselves as a learner, ie, I'm a good math student or I'ma poor math student, and their volition towards completion of those assignments orhelp seeking behavior within the dynamics of the classroom right. And so if wehave the ability to reshape, to challenge, to cognitively restructure the way in whichstudents are thinking collectively about how they see themselves as learners, that theyare capable, within the context of the classroom, that they can push backand ask and and not taking a deficit approach to seeing themselves as engaging participantswithin the classroom, then students can really...

...have success and and what? Gettingback to the question of how do we target right fit students, it's webelieve that all students can have success. Why? Because what I just talkedabout are really ways of thinking and being and by developing intimate relationships with students, we can push and reshape and restructure the way in which students conceptually seethemselves as learners. So it's not about finding the right fit, but it'sabout identifying student needs and being responsive to them and developing relationships with them alongthe way to help them see themselves as learners, as contributors, as beingvalidated as learners and not having these conditions of worth placed on them as theysee themselves as students and future professionals. So, speaking of trying to findand suss out true barriers versus potentially excuse barriers, maybe stories that we arewrongly telling ourselves internally. With that within higher at, how important have youfound concurrent job placement to be for both the academic and financial existential success ofthese lower income students? Again, another great question. So as we're thinkingabout social mobility, we have to think about what that actually means, andpart of social mobility means that students haven't had access to professional opportunities growing up, they haven't seen professionals in an array of different disciplines and so they cometo us and higher education with very narrow perspectives on what it is that theycould and should be. The one question that every student is asked in Americawhen they're about to graduate and are thinking about going to college. It's acommon question. What are you going to major in? Ie what are yougoing to do with the rest of your...

...life? And so as we thinkabout that, we're asking seventeen and eighteen year old to have had very littleaccess to professional opportunities or individuals that are doing quite different professions, to makea decision and then we play some valuation on that decision. So, gettingback to your question, the importance of having opportunities for students to explore,to test, to see, to try different industries, to see what itlooks like in a professional world is everything, because the student that's a nursing studenttoday could be a biologist tomorrow, could be a social worker the dayafter. And really the developmental period of seeventeen, Eighteen, nineteen, twentyyear olds and beyond is really crossing this threshold into college and really saying I'mgoing to explore what my skills, interest and abilities are and I'm going todo that in a safe way that I can get coached and mentorship along thatway. And so it is important that we give all of our students thatare coming to US opportunities for internships, opportunities for experiential learning, Opportunity theseto learn things in the classroom and volunteering communities and applying those concepts. Soit's not just professional job placement in the real world setting, it's also findingapplicable ways on campus and off campus to really try out the concepts that they'relearning and to explore all the possibilities that are in front of them and toreally widen the base in terms of how they're perceiving what what professional pathways existsfor them. So at the center of this conversation of social mobility must bethat we're helping students understand what vocation is, what they're calling is, what theirpursuits are, how they're going to...

...contribute to a more just humane world, how they're going to be successful contributors to their society. And they don'thave to use the thoughts that were prescribed to them previously. They can takethe learnings that they've gotten and Stewart those and those gifts and talents into tonew, innovative ways of gaining meaningful employment. As you've been expanding your student poolthrough this ethics driven and missional outlook of who we think can be successful, there have there been internal concerns about how true that statement is, aboutthese students abilities to succeed, and have you developed any addition those support strategiesto make sure that they are successful at the men again, so the atthe core of what has been internal to us about concerns has been centered inhow are we meeting those social determinants of help meeting how are we identifying howstudents are doing early and often and then pulling resources together in order to addresstheir presenting needs? That has really been the core of the conversation and soI'll walk you through a bit of how we see that and how that conceptuallyplays out. So a student comes into the institution and we in weeks threeand weeks five and weeks eight and weeks twelve, reach out to students toask them to tell us feedback on their experience and to tell us what itis that they might need help with, but what do they feel that they'redoing okay with? We do the same for faculty and to ask them howour students doing in your particular class and we solicit solicit this information, notto just be conveners of information, but to really focus our attention on particularstudent needs, groups of students needs and to focus our interventions to be meaningfuland targeted, because really to experience academic...

...success again, social mobility. Thenotes that there are a whole lot of obstacles, finance being one of them, but access to many of the other factors of social determinants of help thatwe have to be prepared and ready to solve for our students. So itcan't be that we wait for students to tell us or for the crisis toarise, which we know will happen. It's that we have to be proactiveearly in the semester, asking and so that data that we collect then isbrought in into our alerts team and we create innovative ways that are responsive andinitiatives that are responsive to what the students are telling us, in partnership withfaculty and and at the core of what has also been been really influential inour ability to address that is this new tool that we're using called now po, which we liken to an electronic social worker. But what it has done, in one of the most diverse cities, Chicago being one with seventy seven distinctneighborhoods, we've been able to partner more deeply with community based organizations anduse the now alpile tool to craft individual care plans that our response of thestudent needs and that we can send to students directly so that they can getresources within the communities in which they resign and not just them. We arealso caring for the families, right of first generation families. Often times we'retalking about students who have intimate, deep relationships and responsibilities to their families.So it's not that they're just relinquishing that that many times of resources that we'reproviding are not just for them, but particularly through covid it has been respondingto the needs of their families and their communities as well. So, youknow, I'll conclude with that. The response to this question and it's earlyand often and responding to student needs,...

...soliciting their feedback, having them fellus what they're presenting needs are and being incredibly responsive in terms of our thoughtsabout how we can solve and resolve some of those barriers. Touch a price. Let's talk about creating social mobility strategies as a potential enrollments growth accelerator forour institutions. has there been any impact in your class size total enrollments sincepursuing these strategies? Absolutely, and in again, I keep going back tocovid but the fact that we were able to realize wonderful good enrollment numbers andwe haven't seen the clins. We've only seen increases in our first year ofstudent enrollment numbers speaks to our commitment to social mobility and how we do thatwell, we believe that relationships are the driver of students decisions about where they'regoing to college and we can't be the owners of those relationships so far intothe high school experience. There are many individuals in the high school system thathave those deep seated relationships and are using wonderful data metrics to drive students towardsselecting the good fit college experience for them and, as such, we lookto our community based partners to help us understand not only what our students needs, how can we be a good fit? Whom are we a good fit for? And how do we broker those relationships with students very early on inthe process and an authentic way, in a way that shows that we actuallycare about them and that this is an institution that can meet their needs.So organizations like one goal, organizations like bottom line, organizations like college possible, are community based student success organizations that are immersed in the city, inthe high school systems, that are walking...

...alongside our public schools, are charterschools, are private schools and helping students to realize that college is a possibilityfor them. And so how are we doing it? Well, we're leveragingour partnerships with those community based organizations to best understand who our students are andto a in early on in the process, start to develop those intimate relationships,which is built the trust which is why students have chosen to select ussuch a price. That's truly truly beautiful work that you're doing. Can youleave us with any next steps advice for institutions listening to this? Starting off, the conversation skeptical now commenced. Boy What if they're right, they're lookingto design their own social mobility strategies at their own institution. Where ship theystart? First start with your belief system. What do you hold true for thestudents that are coming to your campus? What do you believe of the studentsthat are on your campus today? All students can experience academic success.Learning is a biological process and success is really influenced by students perception of theirown ability. And if you believe those three things, that will drive allthe innovation that you need. And then the last thing I would say islook to our k through twelve partners, to really learn about who our studentsare. They know them, they've been there, they've walked alongside them throughthis process and there's many organizations like ones that I've mentioned that are in citiesall across America that are waiting and willing and able to partner with us asa higher ED industry to help us best understand and to steward that matriculation processsuccessfully into our environments. Touch a price. Thank you so much for your timetoday. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you? Whatthey have any follow up questions? Absolutely, thank you, I would love toto have deeper conversation with anyone that's interested. Individuals can reach me atB price at do dot Edu. I...

...would welcome any further conversation around socialmobility or ways and strategies to help facilitate that on your campus. Awesome.Thanks so much again for joining us today, Dr Price. Thank you. Attractingtoday's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations datadriven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrivein this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition oftheir enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solvetoday's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom.Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensurethat you never miss an episode, subscribe to the shown itunes or your favoritepodcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (230)