Strong Start To Finish

Martha Ellis and Jeremy Martin, The Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin
Alison Kadlec and Ashmi Patel, Sova


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Executive Summary

This toolkit provides tested change leadership strategies for mid-level managers, and those who support them, with the goal of better equipping these critical actors to lead efforts that accelerate equitable outcomes for marginalized and racially minoritized students. We define equity here as the elimination of race, ethnicity, gender identification and socioeconomic status as predictors of opportunity and outcomes.

To support administrators’ efforts to address patterns of inequity in student outcomes, the toolkit includes topics related to evaluating institutional policies and scaling culturally responsive pedagogical practices.

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Leadership Capacity Assessment

This capacity assessment considers five key skills essential for mid-level managers as they work to accelerate student-focused change. Use the rubric to help reflect on and assess leadership capacity to galvanize faculty and staff to resolve for improvements, build trust, forge high functioning relationships with senior leaders, facilitate effective cross-functional teams and effectively manage projects.

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Policy Typology

This policy typology is designed to help mid-level managers evaluate institutional policies, identify areas for improvement and make the case for transformation. Use this framework to support mid-level managers to better understand and influence the policy development and implementation process. Through a set of guiding questions and recommended action areas, this resource offers a simple framework for evaluating institutional policies, identifying areas for improvement and making the case for change.

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Measures of Structural Change

This tool helps mid-level managers assess the extent to which policies and practices create institutional conditions that yield equitable access, opportunity, experiences and outcomes for students in racially minoritized communities, first generation students and those with low incomes. Measures include placement policy and practices, advising practices, alignment of gateway courses with programs of study, number of corequisite course sections based on enrollment and proportional representation of student groups enrolled in corequisite courses.

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Practice Profiles

These stories contain concrete examples of mid-level leadership in practice to highlight colleges doing exceptional work, as well as field-based lessons. One practice profile also focuses on the role of mid-level system leaders as drivers of innovation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers you need to put this toolkit into practice.

Download the Frequently Asked Questions