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Friday, October 07, 2016

Planning Transformational Change for Student Success within Higher Education | EDUCAUSE Review

[Rio Salado College developed this report as an outcome from a grant that planned for transformational change. This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [OPP1136162]. Shannon McCarty, dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs, was the project director. The original report is available as a PDF. —The Editors]

"Rio Salado College (RSC) received a grant to plan transformational change for student success from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation." summarizes grants development specialist in the Grants Department at Rio Salado College.

As RSC began this project, it became clear there were few resources that looked at transformational change within as a large of a scope as RSC was undertaking, especially related to higher education. Therefore, RSC turned to a targeted strategic planning effort and sought expertise from higher education leaders to determine how change could be implemented within our institution. In the process, we developed a roadmap to plan change that is replicable and executable.

As RSC began this project, three main questions were considered: How and where does an institution begin? Who should be involved? What steps should be considered throughout the planning? The purpose for this report is to address these questions by sharing the knowledge we acquired through the completion of an integrated planning process. This should be seen as one approach to planning change as it relates to student success.

It is important to note that what might start out as process improvement can lead to transformational change, especially if the institution is willing to think beyond distinct areas and consider the big picture. Likewise, an institution may find that what they originally intended as transformational change may be better suited to process improvement. Regardless of the scale of change, the steps outlined lend themselves to both transformational change and process improvement.

The RSC Approach 
At some point, your institution will find itself at a crossroads; different members of administration, faculty, and staff might see the need to implement changes to better serve today's students and increase student success with little direction on where to go next. Improvements might be needed anywhere from the entry to exit point. Where does an institution begin?

The process that RSC has developed is divided into two main phases: Preliminary Planning and Project Planning. Each phase has several steps to guide your institution through transformational change.
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