Cutting-edge research identifies strategies to enhance student outcomes and create a sense of belonging in higher education.
BOSTON, Sept. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tyton Partners, a leading education advisory firm, in collaboration with Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, and Turnitin, a leading supporter of academic integrity, jointly announce the release of Listening to Learners 2023, a groundbreaking study that unveils critical insights to ensuring students’ success and fostering a sense of belonging throughout the college journey. As higher education grapples with evolving learning landscapes, Tyton Partners’ research offers concrete recommendations for the field, enabling institutions to create inclusive and supportive campuses that empower all students to thrive, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances.
The study, which surveyed over 2,000 students and 4,000 instructors, advisors, and administrators from various two- and four-year public and private institutions in March 2023, provides valuable insights on where institutional and student perspectives and experiences diverge. Through a novel approach to comparing the student experience with that of institutional perspective and intent, the report outlines strategies that institutions can employ to create an environment where students feel a strong sense of belonging, leading to improved academic performance, increased confidence, and stronger persistence, retention, and graduation outcomes.
Catherine Shaw, Director at Tyton Partners, highlighted the study’s significance, saying, “Belonging isn’t an abstract concept – it’s a tangible factor that every institution can influence. Our findings emphasize that there are diverse avenues for enhancing belonging, regardless of budget constraints. From launching awareness campaigns to leveraging existing resources, institutions can take meaningful steps to foster an inclusive environment where every student feels they truly belong.”
Key Findings and Implications:
- Administrators are Less Attuned to Learner Challenges Than Faculty: Academic challenges, particularly workload management, were the foremost concerns among students surveyed. Administrators outweigh the impact of mental health challenges and should invest more in learner-identified areas of need.
- Evidence-based Teaching Practices Are Correlated with Increased Confidence and Belonging: Learners with a stronger sense of belonging report greater frequency of instructors deploying Evidence-Based Teaching practices (such as active learning, also known as “learning by doing”).
- Digital Tools which Build Community Increase Belonging: Learners with stronger sense of belonging report increased utilization of digital tools designed to create community, such as collaboration tools (e.g., Kahoot or Google Jamboard).
- Awareness and Utilization of Student Supports Drive Belonging: Learners with stronger sense of belonging report greater awareness and utilization of the breadth of student supports available. Communication campaigns to drive awareness and utilization of student services must be customized to specific audiences along the lines of channel and message. For example: two-year students do not prefer email as much as four-year students and first-generation students may benefit from messaging that normalizes seeking support more so than their continuing generation peers.
- Aligning Support Providers with Student Body Demographics Should Be More Common: Less than 50% of students perceive their advisors as having sufficient knowledge of their life experiences (e.g., race/ethnicity, first-generation student, veteran status) to provide personalized advising. We recommend that more institutions address this gap in belonging and outcomes by assigning and recruiting advisors who better reflect the demographics of its student body. Most students (70%) value representative diversity among advisors, while only about 30% of institutions report implementing this practice systematically.
The publication and further recommendations can be found on the Tyton Partners website, Listening to Learners 2023.
A special thank you to our research partners, without whose help this data would not have reached your hands: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Every Learner Everywhere, InsideTrack, Lumina Foundation, Macmillan Learning, NACADA, and Stellic.
About Tyton Partners
Tyton Partners is the leading provider of investment banking and strategy consulting services to the global knowledge and information services sector. With offices in New York City and Boston, the firm has an experienced team of bankers and consultants who deliver a unique spectrum of services from mergers and acquisitions and capital markets access to strategy development that helps companies, organizations, and investors navigate the complexities of the education, media, and information markets. Tyton Partners leverages a deep foundation of transactional and advisory experience and an unparalleled level of global relationships to make its clients’ aspirations a reality and to catalyze innovation in the sector. Learn more at www.tytonpartners.com.
Anthology offers the largest EdTech ecosystem on a global scale for education, supporting more than 150 million users in 80 countries. With a mission to provide dynamic, data-informed experiences to the global education community through Anthology Intelligent Experiences™, we help learners, leaders and educators achieve their goals by offering over 60 SaaS products and services designed to advance learning. Discover more about how we are fulfilling our mission for education, business and government institutions at www.anthology.com.
Turnitin is a global company dedicated to ensuring the integrity of education and meaningfully improving learning outcomes. For 25 years, Turnitin has partnered with educational institutions to promote honesty, consistency, and fairness across all subject areas and assessment types. Turnitin products are used by educational institutions and certification and licensing programs to uphold integrity and increase learning performance, and by students and professionals to do their best, original work.
Turnitin has offices in Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, he United Kingdom, and the United States. Over 16,000 academic institutions, publishers, and corporations around the world use Turnitin services: Gradescope by Turnitin, iThenticate, Turnitin Feedback Studio, Turnitin Originality, Turnitin Similarity, ExamSoft, ProctorExam, and Ouriginal.