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Alliance aims to assess Ohio State advising

Ohio State will be taking part in a four-year study with 10 other universities to assess the effectiveness of advising in colleges, according to an OSU press release.

The study will evaluate the advising process in terms of retention, progression and graduation rates for 10,000 low-income and first-generation students.

“We are currently installing a predictive analytics system to help us deliver more proactive approaches to advising,” OSU Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Steinmetz said in the release.

According to the release, students at each of the universities will be randomly selected and receive intensive and active advisement, real-time alerts based on tracking when they may be struggling and advising interventions to get them back on the right path.

“Ultimately the idea is to identify practices that can be ‘scaled up’ for use by many institutions,” said Amy Murray, OSU assistant director of media relations.

Murray also said that the students selected from OSU for the study will probably be from regional campuses.

The 11 colleges participating are members of the University Innovation Alliance, which was started one year ago to encourage collaboration between teaching institutions to promote improved performance and graduation rates among low-income and first generation students, said Bridget Burns, UIA executive director.

“The alliance believes in universities helping each other by sharing ideas and experiences,” Burns said. “Instead of going it alone with elbows out, we believe in linking arms to help students at a faster and higher rate.”

The alliance also includes fellow Big Ten schools like Michigan State and Purdue University.

The UIA was selected in the U.S. Department of Education’s First in the World competition that encourages innovation among institutions of higher education.

The alliance’s proposal for this study won the competition in September 2015.

“We’re providing resources to hire new academic advisors,” Burns said. “They’ll work with students and capture data on what works and what doesn’t to get kids on track.”

According to a UIA press release, the study will observe the strengths and weaknesses of introducing systematic and proactive advising to the students.

“The country stands a chance to really close the achievement gap,” Burns said.

Burns also said that OSU is now among one of the most innovative universities in the country and that they have seen strong leadership coming from Drake and Steinmetz.

“Ohio State is proud to be part of this national partnership of universities that is using its data analytics research to increase graduation rates for students,” said University President Michael Drake in a release.

The UIA has also committed to graduate an additional 68,000 students by 2025, at least half of whom will be low-income graduates.

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