This post, written by Credo Affiliate Jeff Spear, is part one (of two) in the Thriving series focusing on “Net Revenue: two pieces of data you really should know.” Today’s entry covers the first set of data and is entitled “Isolating Individual Student Net Tuition Revenue: the micro environment.” read more →


Joretta Nelson, Ph.D., Vice President and leader of Credo's Student Success division, reviews a recent higher ed article about freshman advising.   read more →


Blog Post | Aug 13, 2014

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is at the heart of the “Surviving to Thriving” (Soliday & Mann, 2014) chapter on Planning and Innovation. John Bryson (2011), foremost expert on strategic planning for nonprofits, writes, “What matters most is strategic thinking, acting, and learning in a deliberative context. Strategic planning is useful only if it improves strategic thought, action, and learning; it is not a substitute for them” (p. xiv). In this day and age of industry disruption, our planning must include new levels of strategic thinking if we are truly going to be innovative. read more →


As we address the Surviving to Thriving chapter on “Habit of Reflection and Intentionality,” one of the most frequent questions I am asked is about the difference between dashboards and scorecards. In brief, dashboards are more often used to track ongoing, short-term operational data. Scorecards, on the other hand, are more often used to track select data that is closely aligned with organizational strategy. The following provides more detail on the subject. read more →


Blog Post | May 30, 2014

Clarifying Value Propositions

by Rick Mann, Ph.D. We are now looking deeper into the Surviving to Thriving chapter “Institutional Story.” A central component of this domain is clarifying our value proposition. While mission, vision, and values are commonly articulated in institutional documents, rarely do we see our value proposition spelled out. This clarity is critical in these days of the new normal. Increasingly, many stakeholders including students, families, politicians, and the general public are asking for, no, demanding, a better explanation on the value proposition of a college education. read more →


Blog Post | May 07, 2014

"Surviving to Thriving" Webinar Series

This year, we are hosting a three-part webinar series highlighting chapters from “Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Private College and Universities,” authored by Credo Founding Partner, Joanne Soliday and Senior Affiliate Consultant, Rick Mann. In this webinar series, Joanne will offer greater detail with three chapters from the book to offer private, higher education leaders a chance to discuss their reactions to the book and ask questions relative to each specific topic. read more →


Blog Post | Apr 30, 2014

Learning to Celebrate

by Rick Mann, Ph.D. “Thriving colleges celebrate, and they celebrate frequently! They are amazingly good at leveraging every small victory” - “Surviving to Thriving,” p. 55 In this month, we are looking deeper into the Surviving to Thriving chapter “Institutional Self-Esteem.” Integral to this topic is celebration. Leadership author Tom Peters emphasizes this need: “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Our goal here is to explore how celebration can play a strategic role in advancing an institution. read more →


Many strategic plans are thick documents with many sections of text-filled pages. In too many cases these documents are by very few people. The result can be a lack of strategic clarity across campus stakeholder groups including faculty, staff, board, etc. A strategy map provides a one-page visual that can provide a simple strategic roadmap that helps everyone to understand: read more →


Blog Post | Mar 31, 2014

Developing Vision: The Story

by Rick Mann, Ph.D. “The vision statement is fuel for the journey! It is what drives us. It is the inspiration that brings the mission to life on our campuses, and it is memorable. It brings clarity to our aspirational future when we are desperately in need of clarity and significance.” – (Soliday & Mann, 2013) read more →


by Rick Mann, Ph.D. In this month of March, we are highlighting the topic of vision. This is the second element of the Thriving Framework as put forth in the book, “Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Colleges and Universities.” While accreditation agencies generally require a mission statement for institutions, vision and values statements can often do the heavy lifting required to move our institutions forward. read more →


This February, we are going deeper in the Courageous and Collaborative Leadership chapter in the book Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Colleges and Universities. This posting includes a 12-minute audio interview with Michael Lindsay, President of Gordon College, located on the North Shore in the Greater Boston area. Michael is a nationally acclaimed researcher on leadership and for several years has led the Platinum Study. This study is the largest leadership study of its kind and includes interviews with US presidents, senators, CEO of the world’s largest corporations as well as other national leaders. read more →


by Rick Mann, Ph.D. This February, we are going deeper in the Courageous and Collaborative Leadership chapter in the book Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Colleges and Universities. This posting includes a 13-minute audio interview with Mark Lombardi, President at Maryville University. Maryville, located in St Louis, is well-recognized as a thriving private university rated two years in a row by US News and World Report as the #1 Over-performing University. Discussion focuses on insights for working with cabinets and boards as well as in addressing the most pressing issues presidents face. read more →


Blog Post | Feb 19, 2014

The Current Leadership Reality

by Rick Mann, Ph.D. As we work with many private colleges and universities, we find that the central role of leadership cannot be underestimated. In our book, Joanne Soliday writes, “The most important element to the health of an institution in today’s urgent times is a strong and capable leadership team” (p. 15). read more →


Credo would like to congratulate our Director of Research, Dr. Bryant Hutson and his wife, Dr. Ye He as they will be honored today by the North Carolina College Personnel Association (NCCPA) as the 2014 recipients of the Distinguished Scholars Award. The focus of this year's research symposium for this organization is academic advising and Bryant and Jane are being recognized for their contribution to scholarly work related to Appreciative Advising and assessment of Appreciative Advising.  They will present at read more →


Blog Post | Jan 22, 2014

Surviving to Thriving: An Overview

by Rick Mann, Ph.D. With the publication of Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Guide for Leaders of Colleges and Universities, Credo has made its Thriving Framework available to leaders and planners at private institutions. This Framework, based on years of research and engagements with more than 200 private colleges and universities, focuses on nine key areas of demonstrated effectiveness found at thriving institutions. Below is an overview of the book, its chapters and resources. You can buy your own copy of the Surviving to Thriving book at Credo’s Thriving website or at Amazon. read more →


Blog Post | Jan 14, 2014

Surviving to Thriving: An Invitation

by Rick Mann, Ph.D. Welcome to 2014 and a blog series that takes an in-depth look at Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Guide for Leaders of Colleges and Universities. With the book’s coauthor Rick Mann at the helm, this blog series serves as a companion to the book and will help readers maximize their understanding of Credo’s Thriving Framework. Each month, beginning in February of 2014, we will unpack one of nine elements with additional research, discussion, and interviews. Learn more about the authors and buy your own copy of the Surviving to Thriving book at Credo’s Thriving website. read more →


(revised Dec. 30, 2013) by Rick Mann, Ph.D. The following postings provide insight on applications of a balanced scorecard (BSC) within the context of higher education. Postings are typically 2-3 pages in length and can be read in 10-15 minutes. NOTE: Thriving Scorecard, developed by Rick Mann, PhD and Credo, is a theme-based balanced scorecard adapted primarily for colleges and universities and secondarily for other nonprofits. read more →


A balanced scorecard is a powerful strategic framework that can be leveraged to advance the mission, vision, and strategy of any college or university. This material provides a brief overview of 1) strategy, strategic planning, and the balanced scorecard, 2) the background of the balanced scorecard, 3) the strategy map, 4) the Thriving Scorecard, 5) the importance of the Thriving Scorecard in the new normal. read more →


by Joretta Nelson, Ph.D. The CIC Chief Academic Officers and Chief Student Affairs Officers Institute was a powerful experience for all in attendance.  From plenary sessions to peer-led workshops, this Institute kept the focus on the unique power of shared leadership in meeting student learning objectives.  Over 800 individuals attended and we were thrilled to see about 50 of our current Credo clients in attendance. read more →


by Joretta Nelson, PhD Here's a fascinating article about the real success that is taking place in teaching and learning, applied in the area of mathematics.  Attending to mindset, psychological sense of belonging, and meaning-making, these experts have developed pedagogies and instructions strategies that are resulting in student success in developmental and college-level math at rates unheard of in past years.  Well worth a quick read to all who appreciate the potential in students – that is, ALL students! read more →