Our Services

Increase your capacity, realize your goals, and identify opportunities to become more student-centered

We define “student centered” as “responsive to and focused on the needs of students.” Student-centered programs proactively meet the needs of students, leading to better outcomes–for students and institutions alike.

We bring project management, facilitation, and a collaborative mindset to every project. Key to our approach is a focus on integrating the student voice and using co-design to ensure that solutions not only meet the needs of your institution, but also enable you to make the best use of resources.

A group of community or technical college staff and faculty collaborating on a design project with sticky notes

Our Process

From Research Design to Solution Development

Our 6-step process forms the basis of our approach, but not every project requires all 6 steps. Shorter term projects may require just 1-2 steps. A research project, for example might focus only on step 2. We tailor the approach to the scope of the project.

Graphic showing the Student-Centered Design 6-step process, which includes: 1) Establish Project Focus, 2) Learn, Understand, Identify, 3) Ideate and Design, 4) Implement and Test, 5) Evaluate and Debrief, 6) Plan for Integration

Example Questions and Projects

If you have questions, we can help find the answers. Below are example questions we can help answer and projects with which we can assist.
How might we:

Better connect students to needed resources, such as wraparound services, benefits, and academic supports?

Reduce the number of “hassle factors” that stand between students and the assistance they need?

Ensure that our COVID-19 engagement and support efforts are truly addressing the most pressing student needs?

Make our processes, such as enrollment or course placement, more equitable?

Improve our student-facing communications by reducing deficit and stigma-producing language and improving clarity and plain language?

We’d like to learn:

How students are experiencing a particular program or service, such as orientation, and where to improve

Why students are dropping/stopping out or failing to complete an intended next step in a program or process

How and where to deploy limited resources for maximum impact on student success

How to provide useful training and reminders to students, staff, and faculty without contributing to stress and overwhelm

How to develop and gather metrics to track and address student needs and student success

Snapshots of Our Work In Action

Access to Benefits at the Right Time, In the Right Way

The Student-Centered Design team is working with a large multi-campus community college to develop a systematic way to connect students with the right benefits and resources in a manner that is equitable, stigma-reducing, and scalable.

An advisor in a community or technical college Student Services department helping a student sign up for benefits.

Part-Time Student Success

The Student-Centered Design team is working with an urban college to identify the barriers faced by part-time students and design interventions to address key barriers in a way that enables the college to better utilize resources to support student success.

A student parent doing her community college homework alongside her young son

More About Our Services

Student-Centered Program Assessment

Assess effectiveness and impact through an equity lens

We can help identify equity gaps and hidden challenges in programs and services, plus uncover areas of improvement and opportunity. Tools and techniques include:

“Secret shopper” reviews of processes and programs

“Voice of the Customer (Student)” analysis and experience mapping

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of student outcomes

User experience research

Research Support

Understand where, why, and how students are struggling

Using a wide range of methodological tools, we can collect and analyze data to help you better meet student and institutional needs. Tools and techniques include:

Surveys, focus groups, and in-depth or micro-interviews

Regression, hypothesis testing, and quantitative data analysis

Literature reviews

Structured, semi-structured, or unstructured observation

Intervention Design and Testing

Co-design solutions to remove critical student roadblocks

We embrace a participatory and human-centered design approach, rooted in understanding how people actually think, behave, and feel instead of how we assume they will. Tools and techniques include:

Customer journey mapping, empathy mapping, and behavioral mapping

Applied behavioral science/social science methodologies

Prototyping

Rapid-cycle testing and A/B testing

Process Improvement

Eliminate friction and “sludge” in your processes and systems

We focus on making processes and systems less painful, enabling you to make the most of limited resources and deploy them effectively to foster student success. Tools and techniques include:

Lean six sigma tools and methodologies

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles

“Sludge” audits to identify unneeded administrative/bureaucratic burden

Measurement and tracking frameworks

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