The Lever Principle for Student Success

By Watson Scott Swail, President & Senior Research Scholar, Educational Policy Institute Colleges and universities use many varied strategies to reduce turnover and retain students. There exist amply ways to do this across the many divisions and departments, including student and academic services, teaching and learning, financial aid, and others, to encourage student success. I find that most of the institutions that I work with are cognizant … Continue reading The Lever Principle for Student Success

Defining Student Success

By Watson Scott Swail, President & Senior Research Scholar, Educational Policy Institute At the start of all our Retention 101 workshops, I ask participants how they define student success. I give them a few minutes and make them write it down. Then we share. Over the years, I have collected over a thousand definitions from people. Here are some verbatim (e.g., unedited) samples from recent participants: My … Continue reading Defining Student Success

The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Watson Scott Swail, President & Senior Research Scholar, Educational Policy Institute I initially posted this piece in 2007. I spent much of the weekend reviewing old posts and putting them into the archives section of The Swail Letter site for posterity. I think and hope you find this of particular interest today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. From January 12, 2007 It seems appropriate, as we … Continue reading The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Institutional Change and Student Success Planning

By Watson Scott Swail, President & Senior Research Scholar, Educational Policy Institute The challenge that many people have in improving student retention on campus is where and how to start. We have learned over many years that small, independent efforts on campus fail to move the needle, so to speak, on institutional retention, persistence, and graduation rates. They can help with very small pockets of students, but … Continue reading Institutional Change and Student Success Planning

You Can Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later.

By Watson Scott Swail, President & Senior Research Scholar, Educational Policy Institute Back in 1971, the FRAM oil filter company introduced what would become a very popular commercial on TV that ended with this tag line: “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” The meaning being that the cost of a $10 oil filter could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars down the road. … Continue reading You Can Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later.