Successful implementation of evidence-based reforms requires ongoing will-building and skill-building—not only on the part of the faculty, staff and administrators directly involved in the implementation of specific interventions, but also by the wider campus community.
Faculty need to be prepared to support students at all course levels. Students succeed under new teaching paradigms when they are able to understand what was effective in their gateway courses and how they might incorporate and build on those successes in their higher-level courses. Even more student support is needed when institutions increase access to gateway credit-bearing courses. Developmental education reforms are most effective when they include proactive assessment of students’ holistic needs. Research shows that significantly better and more equitable outcomes for students can be achieved through a combination of tailored academic and non-cognitive supports, high-quality intensive advising, and responsive basic needs support.
Researchers and practitioners are unanimous in the view that no lasting gains can be had in the absence of leadership commitment and the widespread capacity of faculty, staff, and administrators at every level to provide an inclusive, culturally responsive, well-supported learning journey for students. Effective communication, authentic engagement and ongoing professional development for faculty and staff over time is essential for lowering barriers to success for today’s students, particularly students from communities that have been historically marginalized or systematically excluded from the benefits of higher education.
Instructional faculty specifically should be provided with high-quality professional development opportunities that increase their capacity and confidence for creating rich, relevant and inclusive learning experiences for an increasingly diverse student population. Faculty need to be prepared to provide “just-in-time remediation” that fosters a growth mindset and a sense of academic belonging, as well as active and collaborative learning experiences that empower students to bring their lived experiences to their learning journey.