Our Work
Shannon Looney
Project Manager
Collaborating for Change


Portland State University


Portland State University’s transformation planning efforts concentrated on building a stronger culture or transparency and accountability around student success. This resulted in discovering new ways to generate ideas through design thinking, crowd sourcing, and project management approaches with a keen focus on execution. The transformation team accordingly gained confidence through its participation and has helped other TPG institutions pursuing similar projects.

Transformation Highlights:

Advising Reform:

Portland State University (PSU) is developing an interactive degree map which provides students an opportunity to customize their degree tracks, track their progress, and calculate their costs on the fly. The program will be provided in the form of a dynamic, mobile friendly app that helps students to make more informed decisions as related to their academic, career, and financial goals.

The development of this interactive app transforms standard advising procedures to evolve into a more proactive and engaged process. PSU students using the app will be able to connect with other students as well as professional advisors with whom they can share their plans.

Academic Pathways:

Nearly half of PSU’s student body is over the age of 25, with a number of them enrolling from local community colleges or reentering college with considerable work experience. In an effort to better support the success of this growing student population, PSU developed its Flexible Degree program.

PSU Flexible Degree programs were created to support adult learners, who combine studies with work and/or family obligations. At the undergraduate level, these degrees have transformed the way in which adult students’ access education: a student may enter a program at any level (acknowledging credit for prior learning); earn credentials along a different timeline (e.g. stackable credits); complete their degree online; and, receive career and postsecondary resources.

A more detailed overview of PSU’s transformational work may be accessed here.

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