Newman partners with Credo, starts Moving the Needle project

Oct 26, 2021
Credo team visits the Newman University campus.

Newman University President Kathleen S. Jagger challenged each community member of Newman to be a “recruitment, retention and graduation specialist” in her first Fall Institute address more than a year ago.

Now Newman has partnered with Credo — a consulting firm for higher education that specializes in work with independent colleges and universities — and its Moving the Needle (MTN) project, which aims to improve student success and retention.

(Far right) Director of the Radiologic Technology Program Jeffery Vaughn works with his students in the classroom.
(Far right) Director of the Radiologic Technology Program Jeffery Vaughn works with his students in the classroom.

Fostering stronger retention

Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, who serves as the vice president of enrollment management and student success at Newman, took the lead on the university’s collaboration with Credo.

In an email to all administration, staff and faculty at Newman, President Jagger said, “Christine Schneikart-Luebbe understands the mission and values of Newman University and has been involved in the student success working group since January 2021. She has a good grasp of what our students need to be successful.”

Christine Schneikart-Luebbe
Christine Schneikart-Luebbe

Schneikart-Luebbe said she is thrilled that Newman is participating in the MTN Catholic university cohort through the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

She explained that the most precious resource of Newman — its students —  “deserve to have what they need to persist and thrive” so they can live out the university’s mission to transform society. 

“We all recognize the importance of supporting every student to help them be successful on our campus, and Credo’s MTN project is built to provide the best possible infrastructure of support,” Schneikart-Luebbe said. 

A student works in the Bishop Gerber Science Center.
A student works in the Bishop Gerber Science Center.

Meeting Newman’s Credo representative

Credo’s senior consultant for student success, Amy VanDerWerf Carroll, ED.D., is facilitating the five-year student success project with Newman.

The first two years of the partnership consist of an intensive launch process that will be increasingly developed by Newman. This phase will then be followed by three additional years of strategy, support and accountability, VanDerWerf Carroll said.

Amy VanDerWerf Carroll
Amy VanDerWerf Carroll

Credo’s MTN project uses a theoretical framework to “keep students at the center of every decision and action,” and adjusts the campus culture to focus on student success.

“This isn’t an out-of-the-box strategy — we cater it to the campus,” VanDerWerf Carroll said. “We are working to create a project and initiative that fits the culture of Newman and aligns with what the needs are here.”

Prior to working on the Newman campus, VanDerWerf Carroll and a team of four other Credo representatives conducted virtual interviews with various Newman individuals to gain an understanding of what current student success looks like on campus.

“We’ve also been reviewing the different quantitative and qualitative data we’ve received in order to understand what’s already happening and where some potential needs are,” VanDerWerf Carroll said.

Students study together in a classroom in the Bishop Gerber Science Center.
Students study together in a classroom in the Bishop Gerber Science Center.

This week, five representatives of the Credo team will host focus group discussions with faculty, students and staff followed by a session with Cabinet members. This will allow the team to initially pinpoint which areas to work on, with formal decisions to come in the next few months.

“We’re seeking to develop systems and processes so that the Newman campus continues to grow and change beyond our time working together,” VanDerWerf Carroll said.

Newman’s needs

VanDerWerf Carroll shared that Newman was selected for its “openness, courage and readiness to make critical enhancements” to the student experience. She also mentioned that early discussions with leaders at Newman displayed a “deep commitment and curiosity” to help students reach their highest potential.

“Particularly during a time when transformational approaches to reimagine our campus communities are necessary to guide our thinking,” VanDerWerf Carroll added. 

Students listen as a chemistry professor teaches.
Students listen as a chemistry professor lectures.

Schneikart-Luebbe believes that Newman has built momentum and a foundation to “attract and retain ever-stronger classes.” 

Newman is well-positioned and primed to pursue the innovative work necessary to meet the challenges required for the betterment of our students and our institution,” Schneikart-Luebbe said.

“Focusing on the whole experience, Moving the Needle will enhance our current programs while identifying other best practices to benefit students and support student success.”

Newman partners with Lead for Kansas, hires Student Life fellow

During his two years as Newman’s director of multicultural engagement and campus life, Joseph Shepard developed a robust framework for diversity, equity and inclusion through Student Life events, partnerships and other community-involved initiatives. 

As Shepard transitioned to his new role with Lead for Kansas (LFKS) — a new statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the national Lead for America (LFA) — in May 2021, the idea blossomed for a partnership between Newman and LFKS/LFA.

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