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Student Development

Inside University of Pittsburgh's Outside-The-Classroom Curriculum Initiative

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The University of Pittsburgh creates the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) to provide students with a well rounded college experience. Open to all Pitt students, regardless of major or career path, the OCC helps them to develop highly desirable character traits and life skills. By partnering with Suitable, students can efficiently track their progress and development.


Students engaged just last year.


Freshmen engaged in the Fall semester alone.


Increase in OCC participation.


Increase in OCC completion in just three years.

About the School

With approximately 20,000 students, the University of Pittsburgh created the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC). It is a collection of experiences, programs and events that helps students to make the most of their collegiate experience.

Challenge before Suitable

The staff at Pitt had been hearing from employers that their students had trouble articulating their strengths, so they decided to launch The OCC but the technology was insufficient. Before Suitable, Pitt was using a big box system that students don’t like using. It is clunky and makes it nearly impossible for students to track their progress and get involved. As a result, OCC engagement was at an all time low. In addition to the student experience, the system was causing major headaches administratively due to limited data and reporting.

Life with Suitable

In creating the OCC, Pitt established ten goal areas that align with their student learning outcomes, to help make well rounded students that are more prepared for life. The OCC’s mission was to help new students develop a stronger sense of connection with Pitt and encourage them to take advantage of all the resources and programming that Pitt has to offer. By partnering with Suitable, Pitt was able to equip their students with an intuitive mobile app that helps students track their OCC progress in real-time. Plus, with Suitable, students log more than just events. They can record high impact practices too, such as internships, research, community services, study abroad, and much more. As students complete experiences, the system reminds them of the skills and competencies they are developing. Another unique component to Suitable is their approach. It promotes active engagement vs passive engagement and also personalizes the experience to the individual student the more they use it. This has led to a significant increase in student engagement.

Previously Pitt struggled to track OCC progress. Before Suitable, Pitt used ID swipers/scanners for attendance which was ineffective in showing students what they have achieved. Now that students can use our mobile event check-in, they can instantly see their progress in the OCC on their personalized Experiential Learning Record. This displays each of the ten competency areas and the development in each, which helps students visualize their accomplishments and learning outside of the classroom. The Experiential Learning Records also offer an eportfolio that is shareable anywhere over the web and students can upload their own photos, videos, or resumes, making it simple, yet empowering, to tell their story of what they have done outside the classroom to employers. Since the OCC is not a requirement for Pitt students, those that take the initiative to fully engage in their college experience by completing the OCC truly stand out.

Outcomes Achieved 

After dealing with the clutter of excel spreadsheets and clunky swipe/scan reports in the past, Pitt administration is relieved to have efficient and accurate data with Suitable. With approximately 20,000 students, 60% of them were engaged last year, and 53% of freshmen were engaged just in the Fall semester alone. Pitt has seen a 40% increase in OCC participation with an additional 40,000 experiences being completed. In just three years there has been a 54% increase of students completing The OCC. 

With more data to analyze than ever before, Pitt has been able to draw a positive correlation between OCC completion and graduation rate as 83.8% of OCC completers graduate as compared to 61.5% that do not complete The OCC.

Plans for the Future 

In the future, Pitt plans to continue building partnerships around campus to further improve the student’s experience. They also plan on adopting a framework and curriculum to address student feedback and leverage the OCC as the co-curricular clearinghouse for the “Personalized Education Initiative”. Lastly, Pitt plans to establish an OCC Center to complement in-classroom learning initiatives.