Report: Implementing Caring Campus: Strategies College Presidents Use to Improve Culture and Support Reform

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By Elisabeth A. Barnett, Selena Cho & Andrea Lopez Salazar

Developed by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC), Caring Campus is at once a reform effort that colleges engage in to improve the daily experience of their students and an approach aimed at influencing the norms, values, practices, beliefs, and assumptions that comprise the culture of a college. Drawing on interviews with the presidents of nine community colleges that are implementing Caring Campus and with four IEBC coaches, this report presents a set of strategies used by the presidents to build a more positive college culture and support reform efforts. The seven strategies are as follows:

  1. Communicating the vision of Caring Campus
  2. Modeling the behavioral commitments central to Caring Campus
  3. Aligning new and existing work
  4. Establishing effective human resource practices
  5. Creating relevant structures
  6. Staying in touch with faculty, staff, and the college community
  7. Celebrating wins

The report unpacks each of these strategies and cites specific examples of their implementation at the nine community colleges. Select reflections from the college presidents are also featured. The report illuminates the role of college presidents in supporting culture-focused reform and offers guidance for leaders at other colleges as they consider how best to initiate and nurture Caring Campus and other culture-focused reforms.