When considering our opportunities for leveraging change—adopting new ways of doing things within institutions of higher education—we are often confronted with the question: “What does it take to get people to jump on board?” Too often we provide information, but the barriers to adoption are not always (and perhaps seldom) lack of information. Barriers to adoption of innovative ways of doing work are more often attitudes, values, or strong feelings. This misinterpretation of what is needed to promote change is often true in our efforts to work with students, too. Students often are reluctant to engage in student success efforts—not because they don’t understand the opportunity—but probably because they have fear, anxiety, or social barriers to participating.
We may be best situated when we focus on motivating students, faculty, staff, and the community, rather than informing them over and over.
We often know what needs to be done, but struggle with developing strategies to get the work completed. This problem is related to the aforementioned point—that strategies require more complex and robust processes to build than merely gathering and distributing data.