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Inside Providence College's FIT Initiative: Building Career-Ready Students & Scaffolding Student Success

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Jessica Fischer

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Description

In an effort to transform students into career-ready professionals, Providence College teamed up with Suitable to boost career readiness, improve engagement, and track student progress toward employer-approved competencies


Providence College’s Career Center created Friar Involvement Tracker (FIT), a career readiness and student involvement initiative implemented across campus to scaffold the student experience.

FIT is not just a catchy name, but a highly strategic and integrated learning plan. It provides students with the necessary toolkit to succeed in their life beyond graduation. The FIT framework was also adopted by the School of Business at Providence College and personalized to meet the needs of business students. This is only the start as more and more stakeholders at Providence turn to FIT as a virtual student experience hub.

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“When we found Suitable, we realized that it was the right product for us. It was more than capable of managing our events, helping us track, it had the ability to have variation between levels and milestones. It was the right fit.”

Jacqueline Elcik, Associate Dean School of Business - Providence College

About the School

Providence College is a private Catholic college based in Providence, Rhode Island. The College educates more than 4,700 undergraduate students and over 500 graduate students, each studying within one of the 49 majors and 34 minors that the school offers. 

Providence College Fast Facts

Providence College knew that in order to engage with students effectively and prepare them for the future, they’d have to modernize and mobilize their approach, but didn’t know where to start. That’s where Suitable came in.

 

Challenges before Suitable

Providence College knows that what makes students really successful goes beyond the classroom. In order to develop well-rounded students into career-ready professionals, the college needed to find a way to nurture their experiences outside of the classroom, but boosting student engagement proved challenging.

With career readiness and student success on the line, Providence College partnered with Suitable to take its engagement metrics to the next level.

Then, once the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the country and forced schools and universities to be completely remote, Providence utilized Suitable's mobile-first platform to quickly pivot its FIT program to a virtual, user-friendly format.

Life with Suitable

For Providence College, it was important to make sure that their career services center reached every student, fostering career readiness and professionalism throughout their academic journey. Suitable and Providence worked together to create the Friar Involvement Tracker (FIT). 

FIT uses campus analytics to create strategic and personalized learning plans for each student, ensuring they each have unique goals tailored towards their personal success. FIT now has multiple badges for students to achieve– from professional development to global awareness to career readiness– with five levels per badge.

Prov College - Dashboard img


Once Suitable joined forces with Providence in the summer of 2019, the college saw an increase in student engagement across all departments within the university, from appointments with career services to events and workshops.

When Providence’s School of Business also jumped on board, we tailored badges specifically for business school students’ needs. The FLIP (Providence Business School’s Friar Leadership & Immersion Program) first-year experience badge is exclusive to the business school’s students, filled with activities and events like career advising, exclusive presentations and networking events– all tailored to set students up for success.

Providence College FLIP badges

Recently, like most other colleges across the country, Providence’s career-ready programs and events have all been completely virtual. Providence’s School of Business had several virtual events throughout the fall semester in 2020, from the Involvement Fair to the Michael Smith Ethics Competition. 

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“We in the Business School recognize that we want our students to be engaging in all of the programming and activities, as well as certifications, that career education is providing to them”

Jacqueline Elcik, Associate Dean
School of Business - Providence College

Students have easy and full access to FIT right on their phones. Students can now complete remote check-ins with advisors, self-guided reflections, ePortfolio submissions, and structured assessments and surveys right at their fingertips while engaging with the university even in states hundreds of miles away from Rhode Island.

FIT also has an Initiative and Innovative Dashboard where students can track their progress, directly seeing their roadmap towards completing their goals and what accomplishments they’ve been awarded so far. FIT also uses custom nudges and notifications to grab students’ attention, ensuring their engagement with the program and path to success.

Take a look at the accomplishments of the FIT initiative

  • Career coaching numbers are up every single month over last year for advising appointments
  • An increase in student engagement across departments
  • Built a resource library amongst the pandemic to equip students inside and outside of advising time
  • Road After Ryan series was created to gain FLIP points proactively in the summer and create a career track earlier
  • When all student engagement was moved remote in Fall 2020, enrollment and engagement stayed strong
Providence College - dash

Outcomes Achieved

Providence found that Suitable was the best partner for the FIT program because of our highly intuitive mobile-first platform, making engagement easy for students and administrators alike. With a personalized platform right in the palm of each student's hand, they’re able to participate in experiential learning activities specifically selected to make them stand-out candidates for internships, mentorships, or jobs post-graduation. 

Since beginning our partnership, Providence College has seen tremendous growth in student engagement and career readiness.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic forced campus operations online, Suitable immediately went to work to create a program that ensured this new shift wouldn’t stand in students' way of reaching success. The Summer PIVOT program was designed to connect the Class of 2020 with a game plan for a productive, successful summer despite the pandemic. Filled with workshops, events, individual meetings and Career Expos, this program reached a total of 320 students across 18 different majors who earned a total of 18 badges in just one summer.

providence colegge- pivot stats

 

Despite COVID-19, Providence College continued finding ways to leverage Suitable's transformative web and mobile capabilities to supercharge student engagement and grow FIT to scaffold the student experience. It provides students with the necessary toolkit to succeed in their life beyond Providence College. Once the FIT framework was adopted by their School of Business and customized to meet the needs of business students, more and more stakeholders at Providence are turning to FIT as a virtual hub for their student’s experience.

Plans for the Future

After seeing tremendous success with the new FIT program, Providence is now looking to expand personalized FIT programs, like the School of Business, into other colleges and programs by creating Academic Tracks across campus.

Providence is also looking at creating a badge for another major on campus, Health Policy and Management while also planning a Cultural Agility program.