frontier set january 2019 newsletter

In This Issue:

  • Letter from the Editors
  • Webinar: Creating a Culture of Evidence: Increasing Data Literacy Among Faculty and Staff  (January 29, 1:00PM ET)
  • Virtual Table Talk: Defining and Addressing Equity (January 24, 1:00PM ET)
  • Reminders & News

As the Times Square ball dropped and we turned into a new calendar year, for many of us it was (and is) a time of reflection, taking stock, and goal-setting.  Most certainly, time off and festivities with loved ones are luxurious and welcomed – and yet, I am hyper-aware of what a privilege it is to have a good job from which I can take paid time off, resources for good food and gifts, and to be surrounded by loved ones who do not face the financial and life struggles that are so common for so many.

We all know that even with the criticism leveled at higher education these days, data show that the more education an individual attains, the higher her/his earnings (a Bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS, nudges one substantially above the median income of all workers), and the less education one has, the greater the likelihood that individual will face unemployment.

Frontier Set members are aggressively working to provide opportunity to under-represented and under-privileged students, and to erase the attainment gaps that plague so many well-intentioned institutions.  We are learning to gather better data, disaggregate it strategically, and make better use of it in our decision-making (both our webinar and our table talk this month will address these challenges; see below).  We are transforming our perspectives and our campus cultures to be more aware, responsive and equitable.

Often, as we progress in our careers, we get further away from the students we ultimately serve.  The statistics we see are abstractions, as are the policies we set and the decisions we make. As we reflect on our goals and drivers for the coming year, we recommend these pieces, two from The Chronicle and one from NPR, to bring home the realities faced by some of our students.  

When not faced with crises at the most basic levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy, our students demonstrate they have more than enough capacity and motivation to succeed.  Any efforts we can make to clear the distractions and barriers so they can focus on the most critical matter at hand – their educations – will pay dividends for us all.  

May 2019 be a year of great strides to be made in achieving equitable student outcomes among and beyond the Frontier Set community.  

KD, Gila, Jerry, Lisa, and Victoria



Creating a Culture of Evidence: Increasing Data Literacy Among Faculty and Staff
Date: Tuesday, January 29; 1:00 PM ET
Speakers: Kyle Fagan (American Institutes for Research), Christine Keller (Association for Institutional Research), Alex Hernandez (Miami Dade College), Jeff Grebinoski (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College), and Melissa Welker and Laura Jones (Northern Arizona University)
Target Audience: Any/all administrators, faculty, and staff.

Using data to inform practice is not just the domain of institutional research professionals; knowing how to reflect on, build on, and adapt current practices is a skill required to create and sustain a ‘culture of evidence.’

AIR recently published Promising Practices Brief 6: Creating a Culture of Evidence: Increasing Data Literacy Among Faculty and Staff, and it will serve as the basis for our January webinar.  Join us to hear about the three common challenges that schools face regarding the use of data (providing the right people with timely access to the right data, expanding the capacity of faculty/staff to use data, and integrating data use into institutional routines) and how three Frontier Set sites (NAU, MDC, and NWTC) have addressed them.

We encourage you to read the brief ahead of time and come with your questions.

Register Here


Virtual Table Talk

Defining and Addressing Equity
Date: Thursday, January 24; 1:00 PM ET
Hosts:  Margaret Annunziata (Davidson Community College) and Jonathan Dryden (Lorain Community College)
Target Audience: Any/All Frontier Set members interested in or working on closing equity gaps

Promoting equity is a lofty goal, and one we all can ascribe to . . . but what does that mean?  Our January Table Talk will spotlight two Frontier Set / Completion By Design schools who scrutinized their data, began to disaggregate it and recognized that their equity outcomes revealed gaps. Initiatives had been designed as one size fits all, but more targeted efforts were needed: ALL doesn’t serve EACH, but EACH serves ALL.

Join Margaret Annunziata (Davidson Community College) and Jonathan Dryden (Lorain Community College) to discuss ways to parse your data, get a clear picture of your gaps, and tackle equity issues by design, using the loss and momentum framework.

Within the Table Talk format, there will be plenty of time for interaction, questions, and comments.

Register Here


Reminders & News

AIR’s Promising Practices Brief 6: Creating a Culture of Evidence: Increasing Data Literacy Among Faculty and Staff was published in December, and will be the focus of the January webinar.  Check it out!

Frontier Set Annual Convening 2019: Leveraging Connection
Planning continues as we race towards the March 3-5, 2019 Frontier Set Annual Convening: Leveraging Connection. The agenda details are coming into focus and intermediaries will continue to work with you on identifying members of a transformation teamwho will be best poised to make use of convening activities, and return with learnings to advance your work. Invitations to attend will be sent to the transformation team on January 16. Please reach out to your intermediary if you have questions about who should attend.  

Postsecondary Data PartnershipData Collection Window Opening
National Student Clearinghouse sends New Year’s greetings and reminds Frontier Set members that the data collection window opens for the Spring Submission on January 28 and continues through March 8.   In support of the submission process, NSC has scheduled webinars to provide a refresher and any new updates. The webinar sessions will be held on Thursday, January 17 and Thursday, January 31. Watch for an email to register.  As a reminder, submission checklists and other resources are located on the PDP Website.
NSC is excited about the launch of the PDP dashboards in April and looks forward to working with you. The Clearinghouse would like to thank the institutions who participated in the review and feedback of the PDP dashboards; their time and effort are greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions about the submissions,  please email

Upcoming Deadlines for Proposals
Frontier Set institutions – especially when you team up with other Frontier Set participants – have great information to share and develop at professional conferences!  Here are two different opportunities that might appeal to you and your colleagues:

  • NACADA National Conference (Louisville, KY, October 2019) – team up to present on any initiatives related to advising (e.g. communications mapping, iPASS, early alert, etc.).  Presentation Proposal deadline: 2/21/19.  Note: Frontier Set Connection Funds might be able to provide resources for participation.
  • AAC&U Summer Institutes – designed for institutional teams to focus on one project and to work with a set of distinguished faculty for input and support.  The June program, Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, could be an ideal place to accelerate focus and progress on an initiative!  See here for more information, including fees and applications; deadline 3/7/19.   

Frontier Set Platform
The Education Community Platform will be phased out in 2019, and we are hard at work creating a new Platform that will be exclusive to our Frontier Set community.  We will be in pilot phase in the first few months of 2019 – some of you may be pulled into our ‘soft launch,’ but the entire community will be welcomed onto the new Platform by March.  Thanks to all of the Advisory Group members and others who are providing us with input on how to make it as useful a tool as possible.

In case you missed it, we rounded up some articles and studies from this past month that might interest you…


To review past newsletters, click here.

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