May 12 2021

Appalachian College Association (ACA) and Credo are pleased to announce the launch of a second Moving the Needle Cohort in Fall 2021 to improve student outcomes across ACA member and guest institutions.

Congratulations to ACA members Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, West Virginia) and Emory & Henry College (Emory, Virginia), and guest institution Averett University (Danville, Virginia), for their commitment to building an inclusive, student-centric culture through Moving The Needle, a partnership that engages the full campus community in developing, implementing, and enhancing the conditions, practices, systems, and solutions that foster student success and retention.

Together, these institutions will:

  • Improve retention and graduation rates, leading to a corresponding increase in institutional net revenue and the strengthening of each school’s institutional culture and regional impact.
  • Build on the rich collaborative expertise of ACA and the proven results of Credo’s Moving the Needle (MTN) project.
  • Bring small cohorts of colleges and universities in central Appalachia together to strengthen their capacity to support students from matriculation to graduation.
  • Identify each cohort institution’s challenges and opportunities regarding retention, uncovering the most promising areas for progress and implementing proven strategies for success.

The cultural and financial echoes of this cohort will reverberate throughout each campus, each community, and the entire region. Not only will each institution see positive student success outcomes, the work of this cohort has the potential to drive cultural and economic shifts across the region, starting with—but certainly not limited to—catalyzing the increased health and sustainability for the institutions at the heart of the work, their students, and their communities.

Learn more about Moving The Needle.

Why Student Success?

Inclusive retention of diverse students is a critical concern for ACA campuses who enroll a significant number of first-generation, rural, and low-income students. From the colleges’ perspective, student retention is both mission-central and a matter of financial resilience. From students’ perspective, retention/success to graduation is critical for achieving life goals, for successful engagement in the labor market, and beyond. And in the Appalachian communities where students are from, having an educated workforce is increasingly critical for the region’s long-term economic resilience.

The Momentum of Collaboration

Though a Moving the Needle (MTN) partnership can be undertaken with great success without a cohort, bringing together a group of institutions with a common connection such as vision, mission, or association exponentially increases the opportunity for driving successful outcomes. Learning from each other, cohort participants will develop and implement inclusive campus-wide student success and retention practices for their campuses and greater, interconnected communities.

About the Appalachian College Association

The mission of the Association is to serve Appalachian communities through the transformational work of its faculty, staff, and students. Programs offered by the Association are designed to promote cooperation and collaboration among member institutions and to support scholarly and creative activities of faculty and students. ACA member institutions are critical contributors to their local and regional communities. Each campus serves as a beacon for its region, providing its students and its surrounding community access to exceptional educational and cultural experiences, often in areas facing serious economic distress.

About Credo

Credo is a consulting firm whose mission is to help higher education thrive in order to impact the success of students. Credo has been an essential resource for more than 450 colleges and universities for 25 years. Credo’s MTN has been implemented by 17 schools to date. One hundred percent of schools that have completed the full program have seen short- and long-term results including significant increases in student retention ranging from twelve to twenty-four percent over four years and in additional annual net revenue between one and two million dollars.

The ACA and Credo look forward to sharing the results of this cohort. We thank each participant for their commitment to a culture of student success and the rich diversity of thought, experience, background, and perspective that each brings to this exciting new cohort.

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