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A New Approach Portfolio of Initiatives Improving student success requires cohesive and well-aligned approach that is goal oriented

d and result driven. Isolated efforts, however well intentioned, do not result in making significant improvements in retention and graduation rates. Identified as superior to a typical strategic plan for PSUs purposes, the Portfolio-of-Initiatives framework was chosen to develop strategy, implement ideas and improve execution. This framework was developed by McKinsey director Lowell Bryan, as a way to develop strategy in a dynamic and unpredictable environment, and incorporates Hugh Courtneys ideas for developing strategy under uncertainty. In our implementation of portfolio of initiatives we not only used the suggested notions of familiarity (or the ability to act) and time horizon to prioritize projects, we also introduced the presence of champions (motivation and imagination) in establishing risk or choosing a project. Using a Portfolio-of-Initiatives approach requires: A disciplined search for a variety of initiatives with the highest possibility of success. Rigorous monitoring of projects and sub-projects, with a focus on action. Supporting the champions. Scaling up successful projects, winding down unsuccessful projects and changing course when needed. In general the Portfolio-of-Initiatives Approach increases the likelihood of accomplishing stated goals by first exploring possible outcomes through diagnosis and design, testing proposals with experimentation and finally implementing proposals just-in-time to achieve maximum potential success through understanding associated risks and rewards. An important element in this process is the organizations ability to abandon potentially risky proposals or shift focus as revelations come to light. Continuous monitoring and transparency are also essential. Although this sort of approach is intended to be long-term in nature, smaller, more familiar initiatives can be implemented as soon as the first two stages are complete. Additional Readings The portfolio of initiatives. (2009). McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 144. A fresh look at strategy under uncertainty: An interview. (2009). McKinsey Quarterly, (1), 43-46 Courtney, H. (2001). Making the most of uncertainty. Mckinsey Quarterly, (4), 38-47. Courtney, H., Kirkland, J., & Viguerie, P. (1997). Strategy Under Uncertainty. Harvard Business Review, 75(6), 67-79.

PSU Student Success Portfolio of Initiatives, Project Impact. Familiar

Application Deadline Last Mile

Academic Policies Review

2 Early Identification System

Math Placement Degree Maps with Milestones

Admission Matrix Redesign

Student Prep

Communication with Students (CRM)

Freshman Retention Project

Student Success Center

Freshmen Communication Plan


Fall 5 Registration Project AmeriCorps Mentor Retention


High Risk Course Redesign


Writing Assessment
Uncertain 7

Timely Progress to Graduation

FRINQ + FYE Collaboration

Transition to College

Unified Advising Records

Students Financial Concerns

Student Success Data

Projects in Experimental Phase

Projects in Exploratory Phase PROJECT TIMING

Projects in Exploratory Phase Longer Term