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 academicsuccess. Learning is a biological process and success is reallyinfluenced by students perception of their own ability and, if you believe,those three things, that'll drive all the innovation that you need: You're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh endromant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricWolesom with helics education and were here today with Doctor Barrington PriceVice President for student success, an engagement at Tominiccan University, DrPrice, welcome to the show. Thank you for much for having me today reallyexcited to have you here and talk with you today about Social MobilityStrategies as an enrolment growth practice. But before we dig in, can youget the listeners a little bit of background on both Dominican Universityand your role there? Yes, so I serve as device president for student successand engagement here at Dominican. University Dominican University is situated in River Forest Illinois,which is just outside the city of Chicago, with small liberarts privateinstitution, with an Undergrad and enrollment of about two thousandundergraduate students, and then a graduate population of a Boto thousandwere also very proud to be. A Hispanic serving institution wish is adesignation that we've had for some time now love it love a Dr Price tokick us off today with demographic realities, to point to a significantdrop in our traditional student population or the next decade. Howimportant is it becoming for Higher Ed to develop these social mobilitystrategies at their own institutions?...

Well, that's a wonderful question and agreat way to start this conversation and I think, as we think, about socialmobility, whether were defining it as a five issue, item or seven issue itemwore twelve issu item. Social Mobility is a reality that higher educationinstitution to face, and we like to think of ourselves as an engine thatdrive social mobility, moving individual students using education asa platform to move students towards resolving some of the barriers andcovid. Nineteen has been one that has highlighted some of the barriers andthe gaps in terms of social mobility and access to the social determinantesof health that Oure society faces, and I think this is really centered and anethical one. So we know in education what a degree can do for individuals. Wehave mountains of data to support that, and so, as we think, about socialmobility, I think all of us that are in this ector and in this industry havehave an ethical obligation to now spread those opportunities toindividuals. We'v talked long about creating access and createopening the doors wider, and I think, for the last fifteen twenty years,hired has done a good job of incrementally doing that. Buthistorically, we've built this valuation system in Higher Ed, where wevalue certain tenants. We Value Act and sat scores that present students in acertain light, and I think that valuation system has leading us towardsthis particular perceptual clift. So the thought is what, if we just changethe way that we evaluate system, not that we do away with standardizedtesting, but we use those standardized task as away to pivot and respond tostudents, academic needs and what? If we pivoted in a way that in respondingto those academic needs, we can...

...innovate and walk alongside students asthey're thinking about pursuing education, so that fundamental Shist,an and widing the doors and who can have an experience. Academic shift isreally the crocks of this conversation around Social Mobility and one thatmany higher education institutions are wrestling with and one that themedicanuniversity issentially proud t to be a thought leader on that particular item.I love that metaphor of seeing yourself as an engine for social mobility. Let'stalk about finding new passengers to get on our trains that may not havethought or believed they could afford in the best talk about your approachfor finding and recruiting lower income, yet right fit students that you believecan succeedit to Menican, that's right, what a wonderful mater por getting morestudents on the train. So let me start by talking about this belief systemright because for institutions to engage in this type of work, there hasto be some fundamental truths that we all agree on. One of those is that all students canexperience academic success. Thinking about this as one's ability or one'sability to experience those or why a person can't experience academicsuccess. Fundamentally, we think that academic success has nothing to do withability generally speaking and is more closely aligned with students havinghad time in one's career, to develop the academic skills that they need forthe challenges of Hiher it, and so within that constract. You know how dowe think about again restructuring learning environments which tappen tothese neural pathways, which we know exist for students or other ways ofputting that is sort of finding ways to relate the content to the way in whichstudents think an know and engage as...

...everyday part of their experience? Soysthe first. The second is: We know that learning is a biological process right.That has been noted well throughout the field of psychology, about how theprocess of learning works and how memory retrieval works, and we knowthat our students, all students, can learn why, because they continue togrow and mature as individuals. So the obstacle of learning is not a barrier.The third thing that we think about is success, for our students is influencedby the way in which they relate to the process of learning, and let me spend asecond there talking about that. So academic success is really driven inlarge part by students, perception of their own ability, and I like to frameThi as students, academic, self or the way in which they conceptulizethemselves as learners. So within that contruct we think about studentvolition or movement towards completion of some task in a particular disciplint.Well, there's a bit of disendance that happens when a students perception ofthemselves as a learner, ie, I'm a good mas student or I'm a poor man, studentand their volition towards Completein of those assignments or help seekingbehavior within the dynamics of the classroom right. And so, if we have theability to rehape te challenge to cognitively restructure the way inwhich students are thinking collectively about how they seethemselves as learners that they are capable within the context of theclassroom that they can push back and ask, and and not taking a deficitapproach to seeing themselves as engaging participants within theclassroom. Then students can really...

...have success and and what getting backto the question of how do we target right fit students? It's we believethat all students can have success. Why? Because what I just talked about arereally ways of thinking and being and by developing intimate relationshipswith students we can push and reshape and restructure the waing whichstudents, Cun absoutely, see themselves as learners. So it's not about findingthe right fit, but it's about identifying student needs and beingresponsives to them and developing relationships with them along the wayto help them see themselves as learners as contributors as being validated aslearners and not having these conditions o worth placed on them asthey see themselves as students and future professional. So speaking oftrying to find and suss out true barriers versus patentially excusebarriers, maybe stories that we are wrongly telling ourselves internallywithaut within highered. How important have you found concurrent job placementto be for both the academic and financial existential success of theselower income students? Again another great question so as we're thinkingabout social mobility, and we have to think about what that actually meansand part of social mobility means that students haven't had access toprofessional opportunities growing up. They haven't seen professionals an anarray of different disciplines, and so they come to us and higher educationwith very narrow perspectives on what it is that they could and should be. The one question that every student isasked in America when they're about to graduate and are thinking about goingto college, I 's a common question. What are you got to major in IE? Whatare you going to do with the rest of...

...your life, and so, as we think aboutthat, we're asking seventeen an eighteen year old, who have had verylittle access to professional opportunities, were individuals thatare doing quite different professions to make a decision, and then we play some valuation on that decision.So getting back to your question the importance of having opportunities forstudents 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'sa nursing student today could be a biologist tomorrow, could be a socialworker the day after and really the developmental period of seventeeneighteen nineteen twenty year old and beyond, is really crossing thethreshold into college and really saying I'm going to explore what myskills, interest and abilities are, and I'm going to do that in a safe way thatI can get coached and mentorship along that way. And so it is important thatwe give all of our students that are coming to US opportunities forinternships opportunities for experiencal learning opportunities tolearn things in the classroom and volunteer in communities and applyingthose concepts. So it's not just professional job placement in the realworld setting. It's also finding applicable ways on campus and offcampus to really try out the concepts that they're learning and to explore all the possibilities that are in frontof them and to really widen the base. In terms of how they're perceiving whatwhat professional pathways exict for him, so at the center of thisconversation of social mobility must be that we're helping students understandwhat vocation is what they're calling is, what their pursuits are, howthey're going to contribute to a more...

...just humane world, how they're going tobe successful contributors to their society, and they don't have to use the thoughts that were prescribed tothem previously, they can take the learnings that they've, gotten andsteward those as those gifts and talents Ando to new Innovitiv ways ofgaining meaningful employment as you've been expanding. Your student poolthrough this ethics, driven and missional outlook of who we think canbe successful there have there been internal concerns about how true thatstatement is about these students abilities to succeed and have youdevelop any additional support strategies to make sure that they aresuccessful a Dominican. So, at the t, the Corpe of what has been internal tous about concerns has been centered ind. How are we meeting built socialdeterminants, Oself, meaning? How are we identifying how students are doingearly in often and then pulling resources together in order to addresstheir presenting needs? That has really been the core of the conversation andso Iwalkiu through a bit of how we see that and how that conceptoally playsout. So a student comes into the institution, and we in weeks three andweeks, five and weeks eight and week twelve reach out to students to askthem to tell us speedback on their experience and to tell us what it isthat they might need help with. But what do they feel that they're doing?Okay with we do the same for faculty and to ask them how our students doitgin your particular class, and we sulite, solicit this information not to just beconveniers of information, but to really focus our attention onparticular student needs groups of students needs and to focus ourinterventions to be meaningful and targeted, because really to experienceacademic success again. socinal...

...mobility te notes that there are awhole lot of obstacles, finance being one of them, but access to many of theother factors of social determinant o felt that we have to be prepared andready to solve for our students. So it can't be that we wait for students totell US befor. The crisis to arise, which we know will happen is that wehave to be proactive early in the semester asking and so that data thatwe collect, then, is brought in into our alert team, and we create innovativeways that are responsive and initiatives that are Responsi to whatthe students are telling us in partnership with faculty ND and at thecore of what hase also been been been really influento an our ability toaddress. That is this new tool that we're using called NOWPA, which we likeinto an electronic social worker, but what it has done in one of the mostdivers Citi Chicago being one with seventy seven tostake neighborhoodswe've been able to partner more deeply with community based organizations anduse the now pile tool to craft individual careplans that our responseas the student needs, and that we can send to students directly so that theycan get resources within the communities in which they resign andnot just them. We're also caring for the families right of first generationfamilies, oftentimes we're talking about students who have intimate deeprelationships and responsibilities to their families. So it's not thatthey're. Just relinquishing that that many times he resources that wereproviding are not just for them, but particularly through through covid. Ithas been responding to the needs of their families and their communities aswell. So you know I'll conclude with that. The response to this question andit's early in often and responding to...

...student Neves soliciting their feedbackhaving them tell us what their presenting needs are and beingincredibly responsive in terms of our thoughts about how we can solve andresolve some of those berriers. Dr Price. Let's talk about creating socialmobiliti trategies as a potential enrolment growth accelerator for Rinstitutions. has there been any impact in your class ized total enrollmentsince pursuing these strategies absolutely and in again I keep goingback to Covid, but the fact that we were able to realize wonderful, good, enrollment numbers andwe haven't seen declines and we've only seen increases in our first year.Student enrollment numbers speaks to our commitment to social mobility andhow we do that. Well, we believe that relationships are the driver ofstudents, decisions about where they're going to college, and we can't be theowners of those relationships so far into the high school experience. Thereare many individuals in the high school system that have those deep seatedrelationships and are using wonderful, Datau metrix to drive students, towars,selecting the good fit college experience for them, and as such, welook to our community based partners to help us understand not only what Ur ourstudents need. How can we be a good fit? Whom are we a good fit for, and how dowe broker those relationships with students very early on in the processin an authentic way, in a way that shows that we actually care about themand that this is an institution that can meet their need so organizationslike one goal: organizations like bottom line organizations like collegepossible are community based student success organizations that are immersedin the city in the high school systems...

...that are walking alongside our publicschools, our charter schools, our private schools and helping students torealize that college is a possibility for them. And so how are we doing itwhen we're laveraging our partnerships with those community basedorganizations to best understand who our students are and and to again earlyon and the process start to develop those intimate relationships which hasbuilt the trust, which is why students have chosen to select US Sucha PriceIns, truly, truly beautiful work that you're doing? Can you leave us with anynext steps? Advice for institutions? Listening to this starting off theconversation steptical now commenced boy. What if they're right, they'relooking to design their own social, Mil Mobility Strategies at their owninstitution? Where should they start? First Start with your belief system?What do you hold true for the students that are coming to your campus? What doyou believe of the students that are on your campus today? All students canexperience academic success. Learning is a biological process, and success isreally influenced by students perception of their own ability and ifyou believe, those three things, that'll drive all the innovation thatyou need, and then the last thing I would say is look to Arkad throughtwelve partners to really learn about who our students are. They know themthey've been there. They've walked alongside them through this process andthere's many organizations like ones that I've mentioned, that are an citiesall across America that are waiting and willing and able to partner with us asa higher ead industry, to help us best understand and to steward thatmatirculation process successfully into our environment touch o price. Thankyou. So much of your time today, what's the best place for listeners to connectwith you if they have any follow up questions. Absolutely. Thank you. Iwould love to have deeper conversation with anyone. That's interestedindividuals can reach me at B. Price at...

...dam got ed Ou. I would welcome anyfurther conversation, aroud social mobility or ways and strategies to helpfacilitate that on your campus awesome thanks so much again for joining ustoday, r price. Thank you attracting today's new post, traditional learnersmeans adopting new enrolmant strategies. Keeliks educations data drivenenterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helex has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing enromant growth challenges download it today for free at Helock's,Educationcomplaybook you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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