Practical Solutions: How one Community College Improved the Student Experience

with Andrew Crawford, Heidi Athey Nicholas

About This Course

Faced with the daunting challenges presented by the completion agenda, Cuyahoga Community College-Metropolitan Campus created a laser-focused method to increase student success by utilizing a systems design approach to building a campus plan. The redesign of the student experience has increased student engagement, retention and the college’s overall graduation rate. This workshop will examine the top issues faced by students and how you can take no cost solutions back to your campus today.


In 2012, Cuyahoga Community College was faced with a 40% fall to fall retention rate, a 4% three year graduation rate and a new state funding model focused on success and completion.  In the years since, retention has steadily increased (49%), while the graduation rate has more than doubled (9.1%).  Cuyahoga Community College – Metropolitan Campus (Tri-C Metro), adopted a service design model that has engaged the entire campus community in improving the student experience.  This model has cultivated and fueled the creation of an innovative campus plan. The new plan strives to meet student’s right where they are in their educational journey; all while leveraging existing campus resources and services.

While the college as whole was struggling to improve student success, there were a myriad of internal best practices that could be brought to scale. College programs like TRIO had retention rates in the 90’s and hundreds of graduates each year. What was it that led to their success? How could we provide that type of service to all students? The campus leadership team made the decision to initiate a planning strategy that would examine just that. Leadership called for staff and faculty volunteers to participate on design teams.  These teams were charged with blending successful practices into a strategic and focused new service; the end goal being more engaged and successful students.

Learning Outcomes

This session will provide participants with:
-    An understanding of a systems design approach to developing a campus plan
-    A sense of the challenges faced at 2-year colleges, and effective ways to address
-    Case management of students closest to graduation (IPEDS students)
-    Knowledge of how to implement cost-free programing to support completion agenda

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