“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence, plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Learning is a messy, creative, deeply personal activity that is a partnership between the institution and student as well as the teacher and student. We must dig deep and get our hands dirty with student learning and engagement. Studies have shown that the most important factor in student success is whether the student perceives that the teacher or institution cares about him/her as a human being. We are in a time of moral crisis across all levels of society: government, medicine, education, community, environment, ad infinitum. There is no need to direct you to the news or politics to tell you this. We live in a culture of entitlement, discrimination, exclusion, and rudeness. However, change is on the horizon. Anne Frank said it best: “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart” (Frank, 1957, Diary of a Young Girl). A championed, challenging, and compassionate education is the path forward to creating global citizens who are engaged with the world.

“Don’t let schooling, get in the way of your education.” Mark Twain

There is way more happening under the surface than assignments on a syllabus and teaching APA. In today’s changing landscape of higher education, we must be champions for student wholeness, life skills (the soft and hard skills of an education), and serve as impassioned, unwavering champions for students (whether traditional or non-traditional). This is how institutions flourish, not through bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors, and trends. For institutions to succeed in this very challenging landscape, all levels of administration, faculty, and staff must be fired up and embrace getting their hands dirty within the realm of student success by tirelessly advocating for student’s well-being and long-term success. There is no secret to it, no magic pill to drive tuition and shore up bottom lines. A laser focus on student experience is what leads to increased retention, recruitment, student career placement, and this undercurrent and unwavering ethics toward the mission becomes its own unprecedented organic tuition driver. Through skill-building and the revolutionary concept of loving kindness and unconditional positive regard for student’s intentions (this does not mean grade inflation or loose deadlines; on the contrary, it means old fashioned, accountability, rigor, academic integrity, hard work, and even tough love). Students will always rise to this challenge if an institution cares for their whole well-being, rather than a singular focus on tuition, loading classes, and programs. With an educational partnership that embraces student’s contemporary lives and the reality of higher ed today, students will engage and succeed. This is the most effective growth strategy for schools. The most powerful marketing strategy for an institution is to care and remain mission aligned as a measure of institutional and organizational integrity.

Mission driven actions, unique to each institution or organization, that focus on efficiencies, stakeholder transparency, student satisfaction, and nontraditional initiatives for growth, among other measures, are what build legacy schools through organic institutional growth. Innovations: Education Advocacy Group, Inc., provides fully customized, mission aligned, methodological, systematic educational initiatives unique to each institution. This is a vigorous and robust growth driver.

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