The Student Experience Project started in 2016 with the intention to optimize best practices and create consistency in student experience across the North American (NA) business units (BUs) as they became one division. As part of the project, the team introduced ‘Navitas NA – Recipes for Success’ to engage in discussion and provide direction on how to build an effective culture that has been tested and proven from lessons learned and experience. The final product resulted in a recipe box of initiatives for improving the student experience in all aspects of the student lifecycle.
Each box contains ‘recipes for success’ with some core best practices discovered around the NA BUs. It forms the foundation for an exceptional student experience across all new and existing BUs.
You can watch the full recording of Robert Daudet and Sharla Reid discussing the project here. Keep reading below for a summary of the ideas covered.
What does the Student Experience Project involve?
The Student Experience Project is one of North America’s Navitas 2020 initiatives. The purpose of the project is to improve the student experience from application stage through to being an alumni, with the aim of improving satisfaction ratings and increasing retention.
The Student Experience Project brought together staff from all of the different BUs to create some tools for benchmarking and standardize what the student experience could look like without each college having to reinvent the wheel.
This project is a peer-led, ground-up project. It involves seven work streams: Professional Development, Creating the Student Experience (Pre-arrival, Life at Navitas, Alumni, and Technology and the Student Experience), Communications, Reporting and Measurement. Each work stream came up with at least five initiatives to include as a recipe for success. Common themes emerged from the variety of work streams, indicating that some initiatives were paramount to an optimal student experience.
The initiatives were rolled out in two parts. The first round launched seven initiatives that colleges could quickly implement in two hours or less, many of which colleges were already doing but a new college would greatly benefit from launching ASAP. The second round consisted of 30 other initiatives that may take more time to implement.
The format of the final product was launched as a recipe box to make student experience truly stand out in the office and be kept top of mind, as opposed to a binder of initiatives that may only be consulted periodically. And so came to be ‘Recipes for Success’.
How does the recipe box work?
The recipe box contains a series of ‘recipe cards’ that Executive Directors at each college can take and initiate with the respective team. They can then hand off the card to the appointed person to carry out the next step of the initiative. By handing off the cards there is accountability to make sure the steps in a task are implemented. The box contains 37 initiatives. Topics include: academic probation, birthday shout out, drop-in advising, employability support, learning management system scavenger hunt, mental health first aid, and weeks of welcome.
Recipe for Success card (front)
The target audience for these recipe cards are new colleges with 0-500 students who want to have a quick, positive impact on the students. Although designed for smaller colleges, the cards can be scalable to work for larger colleges. The recipe cards are designed to provide a snapshot of what can be adapted for different college contexts.
It was quickly realised that there were a lot of good ideas for recipe cards out there. In order to avoid the recipe box becoming too large, cards were narrowed down so that the most impactful initiatives for the target audience were included.
The Student Experience Project’s long-term plan is to continue developing packs to have a positive impact on the student experience. To achieve this, expansion packs will be developed to increase and update the recipe card box effectively given that college contexts differ and educational technology is changing all the time.
Another long-term plan is to continue building momentum by inviting new staff members to join ongoing calls and collaboration across colleges. The project will also be expanded beyond North America.
[Navitas staff who would like to access a soft copy of Navitas NA’s Recipes for Success, can follow this link to Yammer.]