Dealing with Procrastination: Get More Done Today!

In its April 2012 Quality Endeavors, the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment (OPIA) at University Park shared the following article:

Innovation Extract: Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

“We will probably always have a ‘To Do’ list, and maybe more than one. The question we face is how to effectively and efficiently manage that list. In Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, Brian Tracy provides a set of 21 approaches to expend your time more effectively as well as more efficiently”

To access the article, visit:


Using Email More Effectively

This is a professional development sharing from the University Park Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment:

Using E-mail More Effectively 

In this short brief, learn about the appropriate times to use (and not use) email as an form of organizational communication, evaluate the content of your email using the PASS system, and focus on the most effective ways to manage and respond to your email.

Unlocking the Secrets of College Retention: Sharing of Info from

On October  19, 2011, the Campus Office of Institutional Planning attended a webinar offered by Education Week (underwritten by the Lumina Foundation) via Below are notes from that webinar. To view the full webinar, click here

“Unlocking the Secrets of College Retention”

There are many challenges in keeping new students engaged. Many students struggle with finances, studies, and personal issues. This webinar provides information to help bridge the gap between access to college and college completion, with an emphasis on peer and faculty mentoring, financial assistance, tutoring, and social skills development through innovative programs and services.

Carla Wood, Academic Student Center Director/Retention Czar, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AK

Philander = 700 students/historically black university

Works under the premise: “The caring attitude of college personnel is viewed as the most potent retention force on a campus” (Austin, 1993).

Retention defined: Successful completion of a student’s academic goals (Levitz). This is not always the same for each student….may be graduation, may be a single course.

According to the research:  10% of students won’t make it no matter what (they are not prepared and have a mind-set that they will not complete college); 10% will definitely make it no matter what (they are determined before they even get to college); the other 80% are the ones in “the middle” who services and programs can help retain

2 myths about retention strategies: 1) We must lower academic standards to effectively retain students 2) We must remediate rather than teach

Some strategies used:

  • An Early Alert System was instituted through which students are contacted via text and Facebook (by peer student workers) when they are absent from class or via absentee lists from faculty. 99 students have been contacted to date.
  • Exit Interviews are conducted with students before they leave. These interviews help academic support services identify academic and personal issues so they can assist students with ways to overcome these barriers. At times it only requires a schedule change or a link to resources.
  • A Summer Enrichment Academy is held prior to fall semester. Students are charged $150 for the 4-week program of intensive academic and social skills development. The program is partially funded by a grant to cover books and service/field trips.
  • Freshman Survey and Data Collection of Characteristics are performed for each incoming class. “Retention is based on entering freshmen’s needs and skills.”


Julie Kashen, Senior Vice President, Single Stop USA

“Finances are at the top of the list of deterrents to retention.”

Millions of dollars are available through existing resources that need to be made more readily available.

12 million students enroll in community colleges; 29% of these students have less than $20,000 in household income; 79% work part-time or full-time; many are forced to choose between graduation and groceries; fewer than 1/2 of all community college students will graduate.

Putting money in students’ hands can lead to graduation. These students can focus on their studies, not on rent, food, etc. Safety nets exist through TANF, insurance, SNAP, scholarships, emergency cash grants, etc. Students need a way to access these financial interventions/services.

Single Stop USA is currently in 5 schools in 5 states. They work with community colleges to set-up coordinated, comprehensive case management through assistance with benefits, tax preparation, legal issues, and financial questions. Services are offered on-site and are imbedded in the campus. Counselors work with Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Financial Aid. The dean of the college serves as the supervisor of the Single Stop Coordinator.

In 2010, 10,000 students were connected to over $23 million dollars in services.

Case studies and data and being collected and reviewed. More info can be found at Single Stop USA.

Sharing Info: “The Idea Hunter”

The following is a sharing of information gathered from a professional development opportunity recently attended by the Campus Office of Institutional Planning.

Below are remarks from the October 6, 2011 webinar entitled, “The Idea Hunter: Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen,”  presented by Andy Boynton, author of The Idea Hunter and Dean of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. The webinar was offered via Focus, Inc. Visit for more information about the speaker and his work.

“The Idea Hunter: Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen”

  • Figure out the goal you want to accomplish in the next two years. Make a statement of what matters to you. Find new ideas, new skills, new abilities, and new techniques to achieve that goal.
  • To get where you want to be, “It’s not about what you know today, but what you learn tomorrow.”
  • “Behavior trumps progress.” Ideas drive economic and personal progress.
  • It’s not about originality, but rather about re-using and re-purposing. That’s what defines innovation. 
  • Find your GIG. It’s a combination of your passion, your talent, and the market you are in.


  • To be an Idea Hunter:     

               I:  Be more interested than interesting

                     D:  Diversify by avoiding the trail others take

                                                                                    E:  Exercise your idea muscles everyday

                                                                                         A:  Ensure agility by learning from your failures

  • Find ideas everywhere, even in yesterday’s trash pile.
  • Talk to new people who think unlike you (include broad, diverse thinkers, including artists and historians).
  • Write out your objective.
  • Only invest in your “circle of competence” (what you really understand).
  • Don’t be so busy that you don’t learn new information. (Go to bed a little smarter each night. As famed lawyer Charlie Munger stated, “I sell myself the best hour of the day.” Talk to others, scour the internet, stay up on the news and current events, and look to history for examples.
  • Continually seek inspiration from sources that will help you re-purpose an idea (According to Picasso, “Good artists borrow; great artists steal!”) When you find something that inspires you, run with it. 
  • Relentlessly prototype. “Build-Fail-Learn.” (When Edison was asked about his most valuable asset, he took visitors to the debris pile behind his factory, stating that it represented all the failures that eventually led to his successes.)

The Idea Hunter is available via the author’s website above or on