Higher Learning Commission


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Persistence and Completion Academy Experience

HLC’s Persistence and Completion Academy provides participating institutions a structured, mentor-facilitated, four-year program aimed at evaluating and improving student persistence and completion rates.

Academy ParticipantStructure of the Academy

Institutions will enter the Academy grouped together in Academy cohorts. Each institution is assigned a Primary Mentor and a Scholar who provide support for the duration of the Academy experience. Each institution builds an Academy team of five to eight individuals that should include members of its faculty, staff and administration.

The Collaboration Network

Institutions in the Persistence and Completion Academy interact with their mentors and other institutions through the Collaboration Network. Throughout the four-year Academy, institutions use the Collaboration Network to provide Project Updates on the progress of their Academy Projects. The Primary Mentor and the Scholar respond to the Project Updates with feedback.

The Collaboration Network also allows institutions in the Academy to build connections and maintain dialog with other institutions in the Academy and share strategies and ideas to improve their persistence and completion initiatives.

Year One

Information and Planning Workshop: The Information and Planning Workshop prepares the institutional representatives heading the Academy effort to assemble and lead an effective Academy team. The workshop will provide an in-depth view of the Academy, how it works, and the expectations and opportunities associated with membership.

Data Discovery: The institution hosts a mentor-facilitated data inventory, via videoconference or on-campus visit, to look at the institution’s current data sets on persistence and completion and at the structures in place to assure campus-wide engagement in data analysis and planning. The Academy team’s Primary Mentor provides feedback on the state of the institution’s data and suggests what data sets should be included in the institution’s Data Summary Book.

Academy Roundtable: The Academy Roundtable is a three-day event at which Academy teams begin building their Academy Projects and goals. The Academy Roundtable also provides information on strategies to improve persistence and completion at each Academy team’s institution.

Year Two

Midpoint Report: Each Academy team documents its progress in a Midpoint Report, which is reviewed by the team’s Primary Mentor and Scholar, who provide a response to the highlights and challenges of the project.

Midpoint Roundtable: The Academy team attends a multi-day Midpoint Roundtable to share progress, seek advice from other Academy teams and receiving in-person mentoring on the next stages of the Academy Project.

Year Three

Third-Year Consultation: The Academy team’s Primary Mentor consults with the institution to review the team’s progress, offer suggestions for final efforts to implement strategies and provide recommendations for the team’s final year of the Academy.

Year Four

Results Forum: Academy teams attend a multi-day Results Forum to share accomplishments and findings, compare practices and benchmarks, and define strategies to sustain their new persistence and completion efforts.

Impact Report: Each Academy team submits an Impact Report chronicling its work in the Academy and the improvements made to persistence and completion at its institution.

For institutions in the Open Pathway: The Impact Report validates the institution’s completion of the Academy and serves as the Quality Initiative Report.

Consolidated Response: The Academy team receives a Consolidated Response to the Impact Report from the team’s Primary Mentor and Scholar.

Optional Activities

Academy members may choose to take part in optional services and activities to further support the development of their persistence and completion initiatives.

HLC Annual Conference

Institutions taking part in the Persistence and Completion Academy are encouraged to participate in HLC’s Annual Conference. Time slots are reserved during the General Program for institutions to showcase their Academy Projects. Additionally, there is Academy-specific programming for current Academy members and the opportunity to meet with the institution’s Primary Mentor for a consultation. For more information visit annualconference.hlcommission.org.

Extended Participation

Institutions may request to maintain access to the Collaboration Network, to attend additional Academy events, and/or to extend their Academy experience by one year if they feel additional work may be beneficial.



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