Category Archives: Fall 2021 Issue 1

Unpacking Two Current OSU “Scale-Up” Efforts

by Clare Creighton

The topic of “scaling up” has been prominent on the higher education landscape the past few years. Scaling up refers to the act of taking a program, interaction, or idea that is working on a small-scale, or in one area, and increasing the scope of that work, in many cases to serve more students. One of the values of scaling-up existing innovations is that you’re building upon the programs that have already seen successes, rather than inventing new programs that may be unproven. Yet presumably, there are challenges and growing pains to scaling up as well. This summer I had a chance to connect with Dr. Kim McAloney, Assistant Director of Engagement in the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP), and Chris Gasser, Coordinator of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program in the Academic Success Center, about scale-up efforts they’re leading in their departments.

Clare: Let’s start with some context. Would you each share a bit about the program you’re scaling up and the size of the scale-up you’re working on?

Kim: The EOP Bridge is an extended orientation program that brings EOP-eligible students to campus prior to the start of fall term. Students arrive six days early and engage in a range of activities designed to build community and prepare for the transition to OSU. We’re scaling up from 40 students in Fall 2019 to 100-150 students this fall.

Chris: SI offers academic collaborative study tables for traditionally challenging courses at OSU. This year, we’re more than doubling in size and the number of courses supported. We’re going from roughly 11 courses to 23 courses, and from 16 SI Leaders last spring to 36 SI Leaders this fall, and a full-time assistant coordinator.

Clare: From your experience this summer, what is making this scale-up possible? What is it about your existing programs that makes the scale-up work?

Kim: Understanding our history, where we’ve been, and being able to draw on that knowledge. We know what we do, we know that what we do works, and we’re solid with that. We believe in ourselves, we believe in the work, we believe in the relationships that we’ve built, we believe in the pieces in our programs. This isn’t the first time we’ve done some of these things– we’ve done pieces of this before, we’ve learned and we’re able to carry that with us. I know these things worked and these things didn’t work and we’re able to lean into that.

Chris: Having a strong foundation in the existing program is essential. There have been a number of moments where I have had to say “I have to move forward with this, I have to trust in what’s there and know that we’re prepared for it, even if on paper it’s not as clean as I want it or had initially hoped.” The blueprint I have for this scale-up is in the solid foundation and the history of the program. I think that plays a tremendous role.

Clare: It sounds like you both are building off of strong programmatic foundations. What was needed that was new? What else did you discover was necessary that maybe wasn’t in place previously?

Chris: With the SI scale-up the logistics are only half of it: do we have the people to lead the tables, where will the tables be held, etc. Those are the pieces we often think of in a scale-up. The other element is the relationship building – building relationship with new SI faculty — folks who have never heard of the program, don’t know if it works. The same is true for students. SI relies on institutional memory. Students are more likely to sign up when they hear “yes, this is valuable, this is worth your time” about SI from peers and faculty, and it takes time to build that awareness for new courses.

Kim: With the bridge program there are so many more people involved in the layers: students, peer mentors, academic counselors, campus partners, and community vendors. The program is growing three times its size of students and this is a program that works because of small group dynamics and relationship building. You can’t just make the groups bigger. You have to keep the part of the program that builds relationships. Taking the structure pieces and thinking creatively about how to maintain the relationship building and our goals at this larger size. In this case, we use small cohorts to maintain that small-program feel.

Clare: What kinds of things have you learned that you would pass along to others who are considering scale-up efforts?

Chris: It’s not as easy as it seems on paper. There is newness to this. It’s a program I’ve known for a long time but I have been surprised by some new challenges and new places I have had to innovate. I think it’s important to not be too attached to how you’ve done things before because you don’t see new ways of doing things. Leave yourself enough time to innovate, to make changes. Leave yourself enough time to account for that. And construct a good team – that makes a world of difference.

Kim: I think about creativity and innovation, successes and failures. In moving forward with something new, there is some trial and error there. We’re in it for the long haul – we need to be able to adapt and change and continue to hone as we go on learning not just from our past but learning from our current as well. We want to be able to be adaptable to our current students and current context as well. It was helpful for me to engage with thought partners to help me hold onto the purpose of the program while also engage in the creativity, innovation, and adaptability that allowed me to dream and then execute.

Clare: Thank you both for your time today. I appreciate the perspectives you’ve shared with campus and best wishes for the rest of the term!

Engaging with the Student Affairs Priority: How We Created a Structure for Collaborative Learning

 by Anna Bentley


Please visit this document for an accessible version of this article.


In support of the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) Priority, the Academic Success Center & Writing Center identified areas of our work to critically examine in order to create more equitable student success outcomes.

Visual showing a quote from the Student Affairs PriorityOur unit holds a shared value around equity work and engaging with the Priority. During the 2020-2021 academic year, we engaged in a year-long exploration of four topics:

(1) Equity in recruitment and hiring of student employees

(2) Merit’s impact on equity and student success

(3) Research, literature, and theory

(4) Work culture/decision-making


We designed a structure for learning about these topics that emphasized shared responsibility and a collaborative approach.


Shared Responsibility to Equity Work

Sometimes we don’t know how to make things better when systems produce inequitable outcomes. We may feel like we need to be an expert in a topic before we offer our ideas, or we need to have an expert tell us what to do in order to make changes. But when it comes to transforming systems and programs that we affect through our decisions and leadership, we can’t wait for an expert to emerge or for us all to know everything before we move forward.


Our team knew that we had a lot to learn about our topic areas, and we all came to the table with different perspectives and degrees of understanding. However, we also acknowledged that we are experts in our own experiences, we are all capable of facilitating conversations, and we all have a responsibility to equity work. With this in mind, we designed an approach to learning together where we had shared responsibility for leading our team’s learning.


Our Collaborative Learning Approach

Each topic for exploration was led by 2-3 members of the ASC & Writing Center. We started by creating milestone documents so we could define our project scope and goals, plan for learning activities, identify takeaways and possible actions, document actions we would take, and create an assessment plan. This structure kept us from rushing the process and jumping to action right away before we were engaged in exploration and learning. Milestone documents also held us accountable to taking action instead of staying in the learning phase indefinitely. The visual below offers a brief description of our milestone documents and the timeline for our projects.


A visual depitcing five steps in a timeline

Though we all shared a common timeline and framework for our approach to learning, our topic leaders facilitated topics in ways that were unique to them. Some of our activities included writing about our personal experiences, answering prompts related to selected readings, interviewing campus partners, and creating comprehensive project summaries. Group discussions followed nearly all of these activities so we could hear each other’s ideas and experiences and further our learning together. Topic leads designed learning activities, but everyone in our unit contributed to learning by engaging in group activities. Designing this structure for collaborative learning gave us a greater sense of engagement with the DSA Priority and a deeper understanding of other perspectives, while also developing our team facilitation skills. This graphic below describes our topics for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Visual with four quadrants containing descriptions of four projects

Looking Ahead

At the end of the last academic year, we assessed our approach to engaging with the DSA Priority and continued to improve our learning process. Moving forward, we’re keeping our milestone documents and our collaborative, facilitative approach. This year we’ll explore four new topics, exploring two topics throughout summer and fall and two topics in winter and spring.

As we begin exploring a new set of topics, we’re keeping in mind that we must constantly revisit and apply what we’ve already learned. We still have a lot to do to transform our practices, processes, and policies to improve student success and produce equitable outcomes for Students of Color. We’re committed to ongoing learning, critically examining our approach to serving students, and positively transforming our systems and structures.

Just Do It? Why Motivation Isn’t That Easy & How You Can Help Students Get Things Done

by Anika Lautenbach

Motivation has been a common topic of conversation the last year and a half, and understandably so. Many students felt less motivated learning remotely and that their motivation would return once they were back in-person. However, it may not be that simple. A student may feel motivated to complete course work but may find it difficult to study for exams; they may find it easy to motivate themselves to connect with peers but find it challenging to connect with instructors. Given motivation is complex and contextual, I wanted to provide an overview of how we in the Academic Success Center (ASC) talk about motivation with students and share tools you can use to support students.

Encourage Self-Awareness

I hear many students talk about motivation as something that is out of their control. They see it as something they have to wait for, or they see it as a fixed trait; they are either someone who is easily motivated, or they’re not. When talking with students, I encourage them to see motivation as a skill that can be better understood and improved. Understanding themselves and how they respond to the task they need to complete can help them tap into strategies for getting work done. As with many of the skills we chat about at the ASC, developing successful motivation techniques take time and practice.

Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Given motivation can shift depending on the context and task, it may help to start a conversation with the following questions when helping students develop self-awareness around their motivation:

  • What about this task feels challenging? Does it feel too large? Do they need resources? Are they uninterested in the subject? Knowing what feels challenging can help you ask better follow-up questions.
  • When you’ve felt unmotivated in the past, what has helped you start working on things? Tapping into previous strategies can help students realize they are capable of getting work done.
  • How could you reward yourself for finishing this task? Sometimes having something to look forward to can provide incentive.

You can also support them by introducing ASC worksheets. After your initial conversation, you could introduce Motivation Techniques and ask them what they think could work for them, depending on the situation.

Thumbnail of procrastination worksheetThumbnail of motivation worksheet

To help with developing self-awareness, you could share the 6 Reasons People Procrastinate. This could be especially helpful for students who aren’t sure why they aren’t feeling motivated and want to read more about the research behind procrastination.

Help Students Identify What They Can Control

One important note is that motivation often depends on our environment. We each face countless distractions in our work spaces – our phones, friends or family, that Netflix show we would rather be binging. One strategy for motivation can be setting up an environment that feels more productive. As you’re working with students, consider asking them some of the following questions:

  • Where do you do your best work?
  • Is there anything you can do to make your environment more productive?
  • How long can you typically focus before you need to take a break?

Besides adjusting their environment, students can also control the way they break down tasks and how they use their time. Students may have a hard time starting a task if it feels overwhelming or if they don’t have much time. One strategy we discuss with students is the “ten-minute rule.” We recommend students tell themselves, “I’m just going to work on this for ten minutes.” Once a task is started, people often keep going – motivation builds as we work on things, rather than striking like lightning. If they only have ten minutes, they’ve still gotten something done which could motivate them to keep chipping away at the task later.

Let Them Know They’re Not Alone

As I mentioned before, we talk to students about motivation a lot. They may feel like everyone else is able to get stuff done while they struggle, but they are definitely not alone in the challenge of motivation.

As you support students, consider sharing your own stories and techniques, while also noting that the strategies that work for you may be different from what works for them, and this is ok. Being able to normalize different approaches and validate their ability to seek support is so important.

In addition, sometimes talking to fellow students about motivation can be a helpful step. Students can drop by the Academic Success Center in Waldo 125 M-F 9 AM to 5 PM to talk with an ASC Strategists. Strategists are also available via live chat on our website and via email, phone, or text message.

I know how challenging it can be to talk about motivation, and I hope these tools and strategies are helpful as you support students.

Staff Picks – Pets and Plants

Hello! As we lean into fall, we wanted to celebrate the pets and plants of the ASC & Writing Center team. These beings have made us laugh, helped ground us, and given us something to look forward to. We hope they delight you, too!

Almond, dog friend of Carl Conner, Assistant Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction

A photograph of Almond the dogMy dog is named Almond or Almo for short! He is such a quirky and goofy boy. He wiggles his entire body every time I walk through the door and he takes long naps in sunny spots like a cat. Almond has been my emotional support animal since 2017, and I’m his support human. He came from a really rough background of neglect and abuse, but he has made enormous progress since he first came into my life. He’s one of the most facially expressive dogs I know, and makes incredibly funny faces all the time, but in this picture his expression is one of pure love and contentment 🙂

Carolina Reapers, plant friends of Anna Bentley, Administrative Program Assistant for the ASC & Writing Center

A photograph of Carolina Reaper chilisI don’t have any pets, but I do love my garden. During the growing season my housemates, family, and I try to make the most of our two raised beds, containers, and the perimeter of our backyard to grow all kinds of produce. Chili peppers have always been my favorite thing to grow, and this year I’m particularly proud of growing Carolina Reapers, the world’s hottest chilies! They require a lot of sunlight, which has been challenging in my shady yard. I’ve given them a lot of love and care and even spent the earlier part of the growing season moving their container all over the yard to chase the sun. Seeing the [literal] fruits of my labor was so rewarding!

Dessa, cat friend of Anika Lautenbach, Coordinator of the ASC Strategist & Academic Coaching programs

A photograph of Dessa the catI have a tabby named Odessa (Dessa or “the Bubs”). She is, as her previous veterinarian said, a sassy redhead. We adopted her from a friend who moved to Germany. I am not responsible for her name, though I know she had two siblings named Osha and Ophelia. She’s an extremely vocal and cuddly companion whose primary interests are eating, sleeping, and jumping on things she’s not supposed to. She brings me great joy, especially when she flops on the carpet and lets out an audible “oof” sound. She’s sweet sixteen and I’m hoping she’ll be around a lot longer.

Gatsby, dog friend of Chris Gasser, Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction

A photograph of Gatsby the dogThis big golden doofus /shedding-machine is Gatsby. We rescued Gatsby about 6 years ago, and he’s the best! Gats loves food, and if you put your food at Gatsby-level (floor to back of the counter-height) you better watch out! He might trick you with the grey face, but the second you look away, you realize it is just a disguise. Gatsby is always calm, always friendly, and always there just when you need him. We could not ask for a better friend.

Lulu & Hazel, rabbit friends of Chris Ervin’s family, Coordinator of the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio & Online Writing Support

A photograph of Lulu the rabbitA photograph of Hazel the rabbitOur kids have two rabbits. Lulu is a bribery rabbit. When we told our daughter Maia that we’d be moving to Oregon, we promised her a rabbit when we arrived, so Lulu was adopted from Safe Haven in early 2019. Hazel, our juvenile male, belongs to our son Noah and was named after Hazel-Rah from Watership Down. We brought Hazel home from Safe Haven when he was the size of a large hamster. And we can’t talk about the rabbits without mentioning the neighborhood Red-tailed Hawks, who hunt above the aforementioned rabbits’ backyard hutches. The hawks would have to work really hard for a meal, as the hutches are very secure, but if crows can pick locks . . .

Mango & Hugo, cat friends of Kelley Calvert, Multilingual Support Coordinator at the Writing Center

A photograph of two cats: Mango and HugoWe have two yellow tabby cats, brother and sister, who look exactly alike except the female is smaller. Their names are Mango and Hugo. We rescued them when they were sickly and abandoned kittens in Thailand, and they made a quick recovery. Today, they put up with all kinds of indignities, such as being carried around in baskets (by kids), slung over shoulders (by kids), and dragged away from sunny naps for rough playtimes (by kids). They lovingly put up with it all.

Pete the Cat, dog friend of Clare Creighton, Director of the ASC & Writing Center

A photograph of Pete the Cat the DogPete the Cat is named after the character from the children’s book series. He’s a mixed-breed rescue from California, and at 105 lbs he’s a sweet oaf that tolerates a lot of snuggling. He’s currently recovering from knee surgery so his hobbies are lying around, trying to get his cone off, spitting out pills, and giving wistful looks from his bed.

Ripley, dog friend of Sarah Norek, Coordinator of Outreach & Education at the ASC

A photograph of Ripley the dogRipley has bird dog in him somewhere, but has a terrible sense of smell, so tends to do his best work tracking squirrels, who he can hear and see. He wears a very wiry beard that gets wet on water breaks, and loves to sunbathe, tiptoe, has recently learned how to sustain a soulful howl, and believes he should be able to fit all 75 pounds of himself into anyone’s lap. Much of the time, we agree.