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Student Engagement
Student Success

Implementing a Co-Curricular Competency Framework with Hanover College


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Hanover College stands as Indiana’s first private four-year institution, boasting a distinguished Division III status and a vibrant community of over 1,100 students. Offering an array of 34 majors, including biology, business, communications, kinesiology, and psychology, the college fosters academic excellence. With a mandated four-year residency program, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in campus life, facilitating deeper engagement. Notably, more than half of Hanover’s student body participates in collegiate athletics, while over 45% are active members of Greek organizations, enriching the campus experience with diverse extracurricular involvement.

About the School

Hanover College is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic academic environment where students are not only challenged but also supported in their pursuit of lifelong inquiry, transformative learning, and meaningful service. Through a steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the college ensures that every member of its community feels embraced and empowered to explore avenues of academic, personal, and moral development. It aspires to foster a campus culture that is both safe and stimulating, encouraging students to thrive in an environment that values intellectual curiosity and social responsibility. By championing these principles, Hanover College endeavors to nurture a community where students are inspired to engage with the world around them, and equipped with the knowledge to effect positive change.

Challenges before Suitable

Before Suitable, the college grappled with a rudimentary system for documenting student engagement and extracurricular involvement, leading to inconsistencies and limited data accuracy. Campus-wide event coordination was lacking, resulting in missed opportunities for fostering community engagement. Recognizing the need for a streamlined solution, the institution was looking for a mobile application capable of efficiently tracking student activities, promoting campus events, and facilitating organizational coherence. Moreover, there was a clear aspiration to leverage technology as a catalyst for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, underscoring the institution's commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive campus environment. By embracing Suitable’s comprehensive platform, the college aimed to not only enhance operational efficiency but also to cultivate a more cohesive and dynamic campus culture, where every student’s voice and participation are valued and celebrated.

Life with Suitable

In 2022, D.J. Walch, Director of Co-Curricular Involvement and the Social Justice Leadership program, alongside Ashley Eden, Associate Director of Prevention and leadership and LGBTQ+ Center Coordinator, embarked on a collaborative endeavor to create and execute the vision, mission statement, marketing strategy, and launch plan for Panther Pursuits in partnership with Suitable.

Through the institutional alliance with Suitable, Panther Pursuits was officially introduced. This innovative initiative is designed to guide students in exploring co-curricular opportunities while offering their growth as leaders and global citizens. Structured around five distinct competency areas, Panther Pursuits aims to facilitate transformative learning experiences, promote engagement, and reinforce the development of practical skills.

The program’s five competencies–Purposeful Living, Meaningful Community, Professional Skill Development, Integrative Learning, and Inclusive and Ethical Actions– are meticulously curated to provide students with a comprehensive framework for personal and academic enrichment. The overarching goal is to equip students with a portfolio that enables them to reflect on their collegiate experiences, discern their post-graduation aspirations, and seamlessly transition into new communities.

Panther Pursuits offers a diverse array of 35 badges spanning across different competency domains, catering to the varied interests and aspirations of students. While participation in the program is not mandatory, it has been integrated into the fabric of campus life through strategic implementation within Student Life Programs, ensuring widespread accessibility and engagement among the student body.

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Outcomes Achieved

The successful implementation of Suitable at Hanover College owes much to the invaluable assistance provided by their Peer Advisors and Resident Assistants. Peer Advisors played a pivotal role by distributing referral codes to first-year students and guiding them through the platform’s registration process. Incentivized by the prospect of prizes, 12 out of 17 Peer Advisors achieved significant success, with three earning rewards for ensuring their entire first-year groups joined Suitable.

Furthermore, Resident Assistants played a crucial role in uploading programming onto the platform and facilitating student participation. The innovative incentive structure of the Suitable platform, including features like the Battle Pass and leaderboard competitions, has significantly enhanced student engagement levels. Students are encouraged to explore the app and complete the five competencies, with various student leader activities seamlessly integrated into the platform.

Moreover, initiatives such as the Online Resource Scavenger Hunt have been instrumental in educating students on maximizing the utility of the platform. Since its launch, the program has witnessed a remarkable increase in engagement, averaging 82%, reaching an all-time high of 84% in 2022. Impressively, students have collectively completed 12,337 activities, underscoring the platform’s effectiveness in promoting active participation.

Regular meetings with Suitable have facilitated ongoing enhancements and maintenance of the platform, ensuring it remains tailored to the evolving needs of Hanover College’s student body.

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Plans for the Future

In the short term, their objectives encompass broadening their branding efforts to incorporate video promotions, establishing an external website, and showcasing student artwork to enhance visibility and engagement. Additionally, they aim to diversify their target audience by directing more attention towards Greek Chapters and engaging inactive users to revitalize participation.

Looking ahead toward long-term goals, their strategic focus lies in conducting a comprehensive review of data analytics. They seek to gain insights into retention rates and develop effective intervention strategies to address attrition trends. Prioritizing the utilization of accreditation and institutional research, they aim to pinpoint demographic groups of students who exhibit low engagement levels and ascertain the underlying reasons for their disengagement from campus activities.

Furthermore, they aspire to refine their approach in marketing the program to students, emphasizing the significance and benefits of utilizing Suitable. By elucidating the compelling reasons “why” students should engage with the platform, they aim to bolster adoption rates and foster a culture of active participation across their campus community.