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CAOI 2021: Constructing the Future, Collaborating for Success

Thank you to the Council of Independent Colleges for a rich and lively program at the 2021 Chief Academic Officers Institute (CAOI) in Louisville, KY. 

After so much time seeing our partners only over Zoom, we were delighted to engage with academic leaders in person to learn how they are collaborating with other institutions. Here are a few takeaways from the event and some highlights from the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium presentation.


The Power of the Network: Connections and Conversation

CAOI was fulfilling and inspiring for us at Acadeum; in many cases, it presented the first opportunity for Acadeum team representatives to meet our higher education partners face-to-face.

We spoke to two partner institutions within our network who attended CAOI: Aimee Sapp at William Woods and John Shannon at Trine University. William Woods is just starting to experiment with course sharing’s potential, while Trine University has been leveraging course sharing as a Teaching Institution (offering courses to others in the course sharing network) for several years.

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Aimee Sapp, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, William Woods University

“William Woods University is fairly new to the course sharing network. Connecting with others at the CAOI expanded our vision of course sharing to include completely new curricular opportunities and programs of study for our students.

At the CAOI, I was able to learn many ways that other institutions are leveraging the power of course sharing.  I left feeling energized with the possibilities this network provides. Connecting with the Acadeum team was a wonderful addition to my institute plans. I had the opportunity to put faces to the names of so many supportive partners and explore new possibilities for course sharing to advance the scope of academic offerings at William Woods University.”

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John Shannon, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Trine University

“The CIC CAO Conference in Louisville provided an outstanding venue for networking with colleagues and listening to presentations on relevant topics in academic leadership. 

I had a number of wonderful discussions on relevant course sharing initiatives that sync extremely well with what we are trying to do at Trine University. These talks included Trine’s role as a teaching institution in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, our plan to embed professional certificates in our courses through Acadeum’s relationship with Coursera, and the possibility of working collaboratively with other educational technology innovators through Acadeum. These are exciting times and we are looking forward to expanding our use of course sharing!”


CAOI Session: Building Processes to Support Underprepared Students’ Success

In this session, we had the pleasure of hearing from Jamila S. Lyn of Benedict College, Cynthia K. Kosso of Moravian University, and our own Edward Spears (Dillard University alumni) discussing ways to extend and redefine student support. 

The panel explored going beyond academic readiness to understand how institutions can meet students where they are, by using course sharing (e.g. through flexibility to adapt the curriculum, navigating scheduling challenges to accommodate students’ circumstances, etc).

Student “underpreparedness” can surface for a variety of reasons:

  • College Readiness: Student preparation, ability to navigate the college experience and balance it with other life demands.
  • Experiential Limits: Home support system deficiencies, lack of understanding of rigor in college experience.
  • First-Generation: Gaps in understanding college life, lack of mentorship/advisement.
  • Socio-Economic Factors: Financial hardship/lack of resources.

Photos courtesy of Benedict College, Dillard University, and Moravian University

Course sharing is one tool to enhance access and boost student progress when challenges arise:

  • Dillard University enrolled 538 students in partner courses on the Acadeum network from 2020-2021.
  • Benedict College saw an 83% pass rate in Acadeum partner courses in 2020 terms.
  • Moravian University saw 2X growth in students enrolled from 2019 to 2020.

What’s Next?

  • Chat with your Acadeum account manager. They’re here to help with everything from trouble-shooting to strategic planning. Set up time to have a conversation about student progress and retention–and how that impact can lead to institutional growth. 

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