PORTLAND, Ore - The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Oregon State University, as a member of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), was selected as one of the winners in its First in the World competition to encourage innovation among institutions of higher education.

Georgia State University, on behalf of the UIA, has been awarded $8.9 million to conduct a four-year research study on the alliance's 11 member campuses to evaluate the effectiveness of advising in increasing retention, progression, and graduation rates for low-income and first-generation students.

"Today, more institutions are turning to data and analytics to help personalize advising, and identify struggling students before they get too far off track," said Bridget Burns, UIA executive director. "Our mission is to test new ideas, understand what works, and scale effective innovations across the country to ensure that more students have the supports they need to complete college.

"The First in the Word grant will enable us to study the work already taking place at our 11 institutions, and test best practices using data analytics that we can share with and beyond the alliance."

The project will study 10,000 students who are exposed to an intensive menu of proactive, analytics-based advising interventions at the UIA universities.  Through quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, the study will examine the benefits, especially for at-risk students, of introducing systematic, proactive advising.

"This grant will significantly aid Oregon State University's efforts to foster far greater student success," said OSU President Ed Ray. "Along with other University Innovation Alliance partners, Oregon State will learn how to effectively use predictive analytics to improve student retention and graduation rates through individualized advising and academic counseling.

"My intent is to share all that we learn throughout the higher education community," Ray said.

As part of the study, students at each of the 11 universities will be selected by random assignment and will receive, in addition to advising services typically offered:

  • Intensive, proactive advising to help them establish individualized academic maps;
  • Real-time alerts prompted by a system of analytics-based tracking when they may be struggling;
  • Timely, targeted advising interventions to get them back on the appropriate academic path.

Launched just one year ago, the University Innovation Alliance is a consortium of public research universities established to help more students from all socioeconomic backgrounds graduate from college. This year, all institutions are implementing or scaling the use of data analytics and advising to improve student retention and college completion.

The alliance includes OSU, Arizona State University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, Ohio State University, University of California, Riverside, University of Central Florida, University of Kansas and University of Texas at Austin.

For more information on the alliance, go to www.theUIA.org.

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Story By: 

Sarah Herring, 202-479-7149, sarah@whiteboardadvisors.com


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu;

Susana Rivera-Mills, 541-737-4586, susana.rivera-mills@oregonstate.edu