Skip to main content

Powered by Publics Learning Exchange
Sharing, connecting, learning in support of institutional transformation.

In 2018, APLU set out to improve equitable student success through its “Powered by Publics” (PxP) initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ascendium, and TIAA Institute. This network of 125 institutions employed high-impact strategies through 16 different clusters, each with a different region or focus. Clusters met regularly about topics that fall into the broader categories of affordability, holistic student supports, and teaching and learning, with data and equity as important cross-cutting components.

APLU contracted with Maya Consulting in 2022 to conduct a survey of PxP participants that assessed their engagement levels, perceived value of the initiative, and recommendations for improvement. The online survey collected 53 responses representing 14 of the 16 clusters.

The survey yielded the following findings:

  • Half of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that PxP addresses its three goals; to: 1) increase the number of graduates, 2) reduce the equity gap, and 3) share promising practices. Open-ended responses indicate that PxP has met its goal of sharing practices more than the other two, as increasing success rates and closing gaps will take time.
  • The majority (77% and 66%) agree or strongly agree that the cluster work contributes to PxP’s overall goals and to institutional student success goals, respectively.
  • Two-thirds (66%) agree or strongly agree that the cluster work enhances communication and collaboration with other institutions.
  • PxP participants value the network of peers and the opportunity to share and collaborate.
  • Respondents voiced that the original PxP goals were too broad. Participants are committed to these goals but felt they were unattainable.

Participants suggested adding the following components to future iterations of the initiative:

  • Additional training on program tools (The Core Data Metrics and the Learning Exchange).
  • Additional opportunities for regular convenings with the network.
  • Access to resources such as lessons learned to share with their institutions.
  • A defined theory of action with shorter-term, intermediate objectives.
  • A connection of this work to institutional strategic priorities.

Maya Consulting recommended the following steps to improve PxP:

  • Short-term: Maintain the learning community through regular meetings.
  • Mid-term: Grow the use of the Core Data Metrics and the Learning Exchange through targeted training.
  • Long-term: Develop a clear theory of action incorporating: 1) the student voice, to better understand barriers and opportunities to degree completion; 2) the Core Data Metrics, to identify key factors that would close disparity gaps; 3) short, mid, and long-term program outcomes aligned with institutional outcomes; and 4) clearly defined roles and expectations of APLU as facilitators and institutions as participants.

PxP has built a deeply collaborative, relationship-based network of campus teams committed to student success and willing to learn from each other to improve. These campuses show great potential for increasing the number of degrees and closing equity gaps. Participants acknowledge that institutional transformation takes time. Applying the recommended framework to PxP’s foundational knowledge and established network will help propel the shift in institutional culture needed to drive change. It is critical that PxP keep the momentum going to contribute to the success and economic mobility of underserved students nationwide.

More detailed PxP survey findings can be found at

Tags: Survey Findings, APLU, PxP

Add Comment

Comments (0)

Link copied to your clipboard.