Inside Higher Ed Highlights WSCUC’s Work to Improve the Quality of Conversation around Student Success

A new Inside Higher Ed article on the growing demand for data-driven accountability in postsecondary education features an interview with WSCUC president Jamienne Studley about the Commission’s work to improve the quality of the conversation about student success. 

Recently, WSCUC was awarded a significant Lumina Foundation grant to explore results-driven accreditation. Learn more about WSCUC's Lumina Grant. Inside Higher Ed interviewed Studley about WSCUC’s goals for the grant work and Studley’s involvement with a Lumina Foundation task force dedicated to advancing quality and equity in higher education: 

"We are being more intentional about being aware of student success outcomes," said Studley, who is a member of the task force. 

One driver of the effort, she said, is an "understandable hunger" from students and parents for more information on the return-on-investment from postsecondary education and training. The challenge is to balance that sort of outcomes-based oversight and transparency about data with avoiding "bright lines" and too much of a focus on financial issues, both for students and institutions.

"What besides employment and money do you measure?" Studley said.

The commission is thinking about more comprehensive ways of monitoring institutional risk factors, including data on graduation rates, borrower defaults and enrollment patterns. Studley said that means doing more peer-based comparisons and other attempts to give a broader context for evaluating risks.

"The numbers help you find out where the important things are to discuss and address," she said. "They're not the end of the game." 

Read the full Inside Higher Ed article here.