Coaching Development & Training
Community Colleges
Higher Education
Federal Grants
Partner Outcomes
Student Support

Illinois Central College’s partnership with InsideTrack increased retention, closed equity gaps – and fostered systemic change

At InsideTrack, we work closely with our partners to get to the root of their challenges — then holistically address those issues. Our partnership with Illinois Central College (ICC) is a great example of how this process played out. Listen in as our partners at ICC discuss how InsideTrack shared with them the tools they needed to achieve higher retention rates among all student populations, increase student satisfaction, redesign a more effective advising department, and create an institution-wide mindset shift around student success.

It starts with the students

The process started with listening to what students were saying in order to identify where change was needed at the school. Student support surveys at ICC made it clear that advising was not working for many of the students there. ICC was using a “transactional” form of advising in which students weren’t assigned to a specific advisor, and many students didn’t use advising at all. Knowing they needed to drastically change the way they handled all aspects of advising, ICC partnered with InsideTrack to overhaul their current practices.

In our first of three videos about this transformational partnership, ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey talks about how InsideTrack helped them achieve a major shift in methodology and institute better student support practices. As she mentions, the impressive numbers speak for themselves, with retention rates rising 8-12% higher once InsideTrack methodology and coaching practices were implemented. And that’s just the beginning of the story.

Finding the funding

To partner with InsideTrack for sustainable change, ICC was able to secure federal funding through a Title III grant. As they emphasized in their grant application, the funds wouldn’t be used just for direct coaching of ICC students by InsideTrack coaches, but also for greater systemic change. The Title III grant they applied for is called “Strengthening Institutions” for a reason – because it’s intended to support capacity building. The grant provides the resources institutions need to make long-term sustainable change in student support.

In our second of three videos about the ICC partnership, Jill Blair, ICC’s Title III Project Director, discusses the process of obtaining and using federal grant funds to partner with InsideTrack – and how the partnership ultimately enabled them to change their student success processes. As Blair points out, “To do this well, it takes time. And it takes very intentional planning and intentional action… It’s really about a mindset change in how we approach students, how we support students, how we empower students to make decisions for themselves.”

Facilitating transformational change

With ICC and many other partners, InsideTrack coaches are the ones who initially provide coaching to their students. Our long-term goal, however, is to equip them with the skills they need to thrive — well after we’re gone. This ensures that they can continue to be effective with their student success coaching on their own.

As proven by the metrics from their pilot campaign, ICC saw just how effective the InsideTrack coaching could be. Through their direct coaching of ICC students, InsideTrack helped close equity gaps – improving retention rates for part-time, developmentally placed and African American students. So ICC wanted to take the coaching model in-house, so their own staff could have the same impact. In our final video, Dr. Kari Schimmel, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation at ICC, discusses how InsideTrack has trained their advisors to incorporate coaching methodology into all student-support roles by using the “train-the-trainer” model.

Coming together for student success

Even though the partnership is still underway, it’s clear the impact will be substantial and long-lasting. Here’s how Jill Blair, the school’s Title III Project Director sums it up:

“As our partnership with InsideTrack continues, we found it to be transformative to who we are as a college and what we want to become. So I couldn’t recommend strongly enough institutions working with InsideTrack. They have been just a wonderful partner, really getting to know the institution – the needs of our students, staff, and other employees and the needs of members of our community – and really helping us achieve the vision we have for what student success means at Illinois Community College. And I believe they could do the same for any institution.”

To learn more about the pilot initiative – and see how ICC drastically improved retention rates for key student groups — check out the full case study.

Coaching solutions proven to advance all learners

Whether you’re looking to help students persist through completion or to improve career outcomes for job seekers and employees, our holistic coaching solutions can help you achieve meaningful outcomes.