Our Work
Shannon Looney
Project Manager
Collaborating for Change


Graphic Recordings

Graphic Recordings combine illustration and note taking to create a unique collaborative product. The meeting facilitator, group participants, and an artist visually attuned to the conversations, collaborate to document a meeting. The result is a visual map allowing participants to literally “see” their conversations.

The following conversational snapshots and graphic recordings depict transformations underway at a cohort of seven, public urban research institutions that participated in the Transformational Planning Grant (TPG) project. TPG is phase one of the Collaborating for Change initiative implemented by USU and APLU with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This student success initiative is helping universities plan and implement transformational – often disruptive – approaches to advance student success, particularly for low-income, first generation, and students of color.

California State University, Fresno. Diverse, community leaders guiding K-16 education in the Fresno region have joined Fresno State leaders to impact the lives of all students by encouraging them to consider and to prepare for college by joining the Promise Pipeline. The pipeline is Fresno State’s high priority, collaborative, K-16 student success pathway to support families who can join the initiative as early as middle school. The pipeline process guides and helps students get on and stay on academic track to enter Fresno State, succeed academically and graduate. GR

Florida International University. To improve their graduation rates, FIU launched UT3 (University Transformation through Teaching), a strategic plan turning around high failure rates in gateway courses like College Algebra. The plan implements evidence-based recommendations that are transforming FIU’s teaching culture, inspiring faculty excellence, raising national visibility, and engaging leaders in collaborations with institutions doing similar work. GR

Georgia State University. Leaders at Georgia State University are collaborating with new internal and community partners, and using financial analytics to implement holistic approaches to graduating more low-income, first generation and minority students. As administrators learn new change management approaches and transform practices such as course scheduling, they are interacting campus-wide and discovering the power of collaboration to produce innovative student success outcomes. GR

Portland State University. ReTHINK PSU is a campus-wide, change strategy generating big ideas and transformations among faculty, administrators and students at Portland State as they plan and implement practices to build 4-6 new student success programs a year. The collaborative process is encouraging: trust-building transparency; shared project management; physical space changes to foster collaboration; and confidence-building among PSU team members as they work with teams doing similar work at other institutions. GR

Temple University. The Temple Option allows students to apply for and be admitted to Temple using data other than standardized test scores. It is the first step of a proactive, IN and THROUGH student success pathway guiding campus-wide and community collaborations to respond to early alerts in meeting the persistence needs of students that may be at risk of derailment. GR

The University of Akron. Unbundling course content and using technology to make learning more flexible, accessible, engaging and cost efficient is driving change at the University of Akron. This highly personalized learning process draws on what a student already know, and his or her learning style, to connect students with a community of learners as a way to encourage persistence and learning both inside and outside the classroom. GR

University of Illinois at Chicago. Engagement between some 300 faculty, administrators and students sparked new student success transformations at the University of Illinois at Chicago and affirmed the value of campus-wide transparency, informal and formal conversations, and engaging department leaders and students in recommending campus change. As the process continues to evolve, organizers are taking into account: the sustainability of the new projects underway, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as stability. GR

Center for Digital Education: Urban Universities Embark on a Quest to Transform Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed: Seeking New Models for Public Urban Universities

University Business: APLU, USU Select Seven Urban Research Universities for Pilot Grant

Featured Project & Initiative

The Data Literacy Institute – a partnership between APLU and the Association for Institutional Research with funding from Ascendium – brings together cross-departmental teams from 11 Powered by Publics institutions from Cluster 14 to engage in training that enhance their use of data to improve equitable student outcomes. In May 2022, Powered by Publics held […]

Featured Publication

2022 APLU Annual Report