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Campus Partnerships Support Student Success

Posted by Liz Schulte on 5/8/19 6:00 AM
Topics: student success, college affordability, student achievement

Many factors go into student success, such as retention rates, college affordability, student preparedness, student engagement, etc. By supporting the whole student, schools can improve outcomes and help students persist. However, initiatives with campus-wide support produce the best results. Whether a campus initiative or a bookstore initiative, communication is vital to its success.

Campus Partnerships Support Student SuccessWorking together to support student success

The college store can contribute in many ways to student success. From participating in new student orientation events to lowering costs on course materials, the bookstore can support institutional missions and help students achieve long-term success. The bookstore needs faculty and administrative support to implement solutions that will have a lasting impact.

Everyone on campus is busy, but that doesn’t mean they are not interested in what your store can do — especially when it aligns with ongoing campus initiatives. Identify how your store can help support campus goals and set up a meeting the with best person on campus to help pave the way for your solution’s success.

Follow the example set by the college stores that have successfully formed campus partnerships that have enabled them to boost student achievement, preparedness and success at their school.

Chemeketa Community College Bookstore works with deans to improve faculty adoption rates

When Chemeketa Community College’s Director of Bookstore and Auxiliary Services Meredith Schreiber was hired as the bookstore and auxiliary services director, she immediately identified an issue with faculty adoptions that she was determined to resolve.

“I was confused as to why adoptions weren’t done on time. We talked about the barriers and challenges associated with textbook adoptions. Once I had a good understanding of the problem, we invited the general education deans to lunch and sat down with them to talk about adoptions. We told them about the problem and why it would be advantageous to all us if we could figure out a way to get the adoptions done on time,” Schreiber said. “The deans really took it upon themselves to solve the problem. They worked with our LEAN Development Team. I don’t know if every campus has a LEAN Development Team these days or not, but ours is pretty amazing. They took the problem apart with the academic work group on campus and flipped the system.”

By identifying and understanding what challenges the bookstore faced, leadership at the Chemeketa Community College Bookstore presented the issue to the administration in a way that explained the importance of on-time adoptions not only to the bookstore but also to students. Working together, the college store now has a 99.92 percent adoption completion rate seven weeks before the start of term.

“We really took the time to develop a really good rapport with the deans. They saw our genuine commitment to textbook affordability,” Schreiber said. “We also started our textbook affordability group at that time to support the campus’ affordable learning initiative. The deans on the committee would lay out their goals, and I would say matter-of-factly that this was all fine, but none of it could really happen before we could fix the adoption problem. I explained that we couldn’t truly have affordability without on-time adoptions. And, it has proven to be true.”

The Belmont Store gains faculty buy-in for new course material delivery solution

When the Belmont Store was moved to a smaller location changes had to be made to the way course materials were handled. No longer able to carry textbooks in the bookstore, Managing Director Auxiliary Services Keith Chapman implemented a creative opt-out auto order solution.

With this solution, all of the books associated with students’ schedules are automatically shipped to them unless a student has opted out of receiving the book.

“The first is free shipment to their homes. MBS ships the books and we pay for the shipping. Or, MBS will drop ship us pallets of books. We take those pallets and do one of two things: We either deliver to the residence halls free of charge, or we put the books in a select location for pickup,” Chapman said. “When students have their books delivered to their dormitory, we pay the residence hall staff a dollar per box of books to put them into the student’s room. This gives the residence halls money that can go toward a student event or programming. If a student chooses to pick up their books, we staff a location where students can pick up their books for the first 14 days of the semester.”

However, for this solution to work, the bookstore needed faculty and students to understand the program and see the benefit of it. The store invested in educating students, faculty and parents about how their new system would work before they initiated the program and continue to do so with the help of the provost.

“First and foremost, we had tremendous support from our provost. Our provost has been excellent at speaking with faculty and bringing them into the program. Our textbook manager notifies the provost when he hasn’t gotten an adoption or when someone calls wanting to change a book at the last minute or other issues like that. The provost helps us by addressing those issues.” Chapman said. “In addition, we speak to the faculty senate at least once a year. We speak at the Fall Faculty Forum once a year. We go to department meetings when we’re asked, and we speak at the provost council which involves all the deans. That has really begun to make a difference. We can see the support lining up behind the program.”

Campus initiatives can bring the entire community together with one common goal. Understanding how your store fits into that mission and working closely with the rest of the campus, the college store becomes an invaluable resource in achieving greater student success.

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About Liz Schulte

Liz Schulte is an author and business owner with a background in customer service, marketing and higher education development.

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