As Tiffin University began its Moving the Needle (MTN) and strategic planning partnership with Credo, there was an emphasis on the importance of culture change to improve student retention. This generated an energizing “all-hands-on-deck” ethos at Tiffin—a recognition that every part of campus must be involved in retention efforts.  

Seeking a Holistic Approach to Student Success  

tiffin universityLocated in north-central Ohio, Tiffin’s career-focused curriculum is delivered by professionals whose industry expertise and connections are invaluable to its students and alumni. Through MTN, Tiffin sought to work through a handful of key challenges to student success. 

  • Interpersonal relationships between students and their faculty and staff were strong, but there was a lack of systematic collaboration and communication between different university units.
  • Many of these units used their own platforms and databases rather than campus-wide systems, making it difficult for Tiffin to comprehensively track key metrics related to student success.
  • Driven to continually improve, faculty and staff tended to overlook the university community’s unique strengths when seeking areas for growth. 

Investing in Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Technology 

Tiffin’s community persevered through the early challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, completing important foundational work aimed at building cross-campus partnerships in service to student success. 

  • The university identified a position on campus that is responsible for coordination of student success and intervention efforts. The Assistant Vice Provost of Student Success partners with many areas across campus, including athletics, arts programs, advisors, and student financial services to focus on the student experience.
  • Tiffin implemented the Success Intelligence Platform powered by Pharos Resources to support a campus-wide approach to intervention. Named Dragon 360, the system provides staff with real-time data to inform early interventions and help develop creative solutions for students with holds that prevent them from registering for courses and progressing in their studies. 
  • Various departments involved in the business aspects of the student experience collaborated to create a streamlined process for clearing students to register each semester called Blaze the Trail. These departments also worked together to significantly reduce the balance threshold for students between semesters.
  • University leaders strategically and intentionally created moments for the community to recognize and celebrate Tiffin’s accomplishments and strengths.
  • Tiffin enrolled more than 60 faculty and staff in Credo’s Talent Development Program (see more below).

I am most excited to see the changes and improvements we have made on campus come to life in the students' eyes. You can make changes and upgrades to different areas and never know if you are going down the right path until you see it from the lens of students succeeding.

Andrea Faber, MBA Assistant Vice Provost of Student Success at Tiffin University

Tiffin and Credo plan to build upon these initial accomplishments by focusing on: 

  • Recruiting and training a Student Success/Retention Committee.
  • Leveling up the advising and academic support areas of student success.
  • Creating clear academic, social, career, and financial pathways for students.
  • Diving deeper into the challenges of retaining athletes in the age of the NCAA transfer portal.

Tiffin’s early progress in MTN has set the stage for a holistic and sustainable approach to improving student success. The university’s recognition of the importance of cross-campus collaboration and systematic communication, as well as its investments in technology and professional development, reflect its understanding that long-term institutional success is predicated upon enhancing the student experience.  

Talent Development Program  

Offered to MTN partners, Credo’s Talent Development program is designed with higher education middle talent in mind. Through personalized assessments and workshops, faculty and staff gain the skills and the confidence to affect change and community success on their campus. After completing the program, participants are eligible to earn a badge from Credly, a leader in the digital credential movement.


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