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Dr. Davis Jenkins, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center

The Civitas Learning National Advisory Board is comprised of researchers, association leaders, and executives whose expertise has influenced higher education policy and institutional practice across the United States, and guided our work from day one. With the NAB Conversation Series, we are thrilled to give our community an opportunity to learn from these luminaries as we continue our work together to change student outcomes.

In this conversation Dr. Davis Jenkins, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center,  shares how college leaders can provide the full value proposition of a program that prepares students for lifelong learning.

He notes that the changing labor market requirements and rising costs of college are forcing institutions to rethink what a “program” means, and how to deliver on its value proposition: that is, a living wage job with opportunities for further education, or ability to transfer with junior standing in a major.

The key is engaging students from day one — for example by being thoughtful about how you offer orientation — getting students on degree paths early on, and ensuring they have full program plans by the end of their first term that reflect goals and time to degree.

The idea is that intentional program design can help set expectations, help students understand the choices they’re making, and the implications of the choices they’re making.

The end result is greater accountability for both students and institutions. Students engage with their education and fulfill requirements on time — perhaps by taking just one more course when they can in order to accelerate their path to completion. — Institutions schedule and offer courses because they are on students’ plans and not because those are the courses they have offered for decades.

Jenkins also responds to questions about transfer students, and what colleges and universities can do to ensure they are supported and effective in their educational pursuits. He describes what institutions must do as a supply chain — with myriad opportunities to optimize students’ educational journeys through the institution, and opportunities to create a healthy enrollment pipeline for colleges and universities.

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