Archive for April, 2020

Aviso Retention: Statewide Leader in Student Success Technology (NCACCT Business Partner)

Posted on: April 15th, 2020 by Caroline Hipple No Comments

Aviso logo for NC_

Aviso Retention now partners with 33 of the 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) to identify at-risk students and to provide technology-enabled holistic student support through predictive analytics, early alerting, messaging, and reporting features – built upon best practices – to increase student retention and degree completion.

Our focus has always been on two-year community and technical colleges who are often underserved. Aviso understands how two-year schools operate and the specific obstacles they face. We specialize in helping institutions align their people and processes with our technology to create opportunities for growth.

“Two out of every three students will rely on a two-year institution, whether that be through dual-enrollment in high school, earning a certificate or degree, or transferring to a four-year university,” says Alexander Leader, CEO of Aviso Retention. “Our goal is to provide these institutions best practices and technical solutions that are tailored to their unique needs and diverse student populations.”

Community college presidents are tasked to “recruit, retain, and complete” in a world that requires more and higher credentials for the jobs being created. Aviso can help institutions successfully fulfill those mandates and meet the goal of MyFutureNC of one million North Carolinians having these credentials by 2030.

In North Carolina, Aviso has partnered both with the NCCC System Office and with individual schools to produce results. We are wrapping up a five-year, federal grant-funded project with 10 NCCCS institutions that examined the impact of data-informed Success Coaching to proactively address the academic and personal needs of students. Preliminary results suggest that success coaching improves long-term retention rates by six percentage points for high engagement institutions.

In 2019, we started working with an additional nine institutions in the system through the Minority Male Student Initiative grant, which aims to combine success coaching and early alert capabilities to increase retention and graduation rates for this vulnerable population.

Using a combination of artificial intelligence and human intelligence, Aviso can predict where an institution needs to spend their time, increasing retention and student engagement. Here are a few highlights of the progress our NCCCS partners have made using Aviso software:

*17 percent increase in student retention in three years at Central Carolina Community College,

*7 percent increase in course completion rates from Spring 2018 to Spring 2019 for high school students at Haywood Community College,

*5 percent increase in retention in one year at Cleveland Community College,

*5 percent increase in fall retention for full-time students at Pamlico Community College,

*14 percent increase in spring retention for new part-time students at Caldwell Community College.

The use of Aviso in North Carolina’s community colleges can create millions in savings to the colleges and increase the retention and completion rate significantly. More important than the savings, however, is the fact that students will be better and more quickly prepared to transition to the workforce and will have a greater foundation for success and quality of life.

Given recent economic turbulence due to the novel coronavirus, it is expected that fall enrollment numbers will increase significantly, and NCCCS institutions will soon have more students to recruit, support, and retain. Aviso has been supporting its partner institutions this spring by providing additional COVID-19 resources and making changes to the technology to allow our partners to better support students as they work from home. We have seen an increase in unique logins across all campuses as more people need access to student information while supporting students remotely.

We are continually working to improve our product based on both our customers’ suggestions and higher education trends. This spring, Aviso Retention will release its mobile app, Aviso Student, so all students can suddenly have their institutional support system in their pockets. In the app, students can easily message their success team (advisor and success coach), schedule appointments, complete assigned tasks, and engage with shared resources.

In addition, Aviso’s new reporting module will allow institutions to create customized reports that can be published as dashboards to ensure students are receiving the service they expect in a work-from-home environment. These dashboards can be built for specific teams so that everyone is on the same page. We cannot wait to see how our NC partners utilize these new features as they move forward.

About Aviso Retention

Aviso Retention is the leading student success solution for two-year community and technical colleges. Aviso is easy to integrate, intuitive to learn, and scalable for any size institution or budget. Please visit for more information.

Spotlight on Community College Leaders: Wayne Community College Trustee Veda McNair

Posted on: April 14th, 2020 by Caroline Hipple No Comments

Spotlight on Community College Leaders: Wayne Community College Trustee Veda McNair

By Ashley Blizzard, NCACCP/NCACCT Communication Coordinator & Events Manager

Veda McNair, known around Spring Creek High School as “The Main Thing Lady” because she encourages her Success Coach students to keep education as “the main thing” in their lives, often suggests the community college as an option for students after graduation. McNair has been employed in the education field for more than 40 years. A former elementary school principal, McNair says she often runs into students she knew growing up in the schools where she was principal. Many former students would often tell her that Wayne Community College had played a large part of their education beyond high school. This is when her interest in community colleges began. Therefore, in 2005, when McNair was asked to serve on Wayne Community College’s Board of Trustees, she was more than happy to oblige.

McNair said that being on Wayne Community College’s board has allowed her to see “the other side” of community colleges—not just how they educate their communities. Being a trustee has shown her how community colleges partner with local businesses, school systems, military bases, and communities. It’s also shown her how the colleges can affect local economies and economic development. “When I see [these] partnerships, I feel a sense of pride that I’m a part of this,” said McNair.

“The community college is probably one of the best kept secrets” [in education], according to McNair. While she is appreciative of the support community colleges receive from local and state governments, she feels the value of our community colleges sometimes isn’t realized by our citizenry and those who hold the purse strings. That has surprised McNair during her time as a trustee. She said some of our citizens and leaders do not realize the impact our community colleges have getting our citizens trained and qualified to go into the workforce. According to McNair, community college transfer students out-perform their counterparts at four-year colleges. She also states that Wayne Community College, in particular, has very high completion rates for programs offered.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, McNair has been concerned about funding for salary increases. “We are lagging behind other educational institutions. If we’re going to keep high-level faculty, we’re going to need to pay them accordingly,” she says. Salary increases for faculty and staff is one of the top two issues she sees facing North Carolina community colleges right now. The other issue she sees is that community colleges need support for programs like the Guided Pathways Initiative that can get students trained and educated so they can go into the workforce. (For more information on these programs, go to

North Carolina’s community colleges are important to McNair because they offer an “extremely quality education at an extremely affordable price. The cost to attend community colleges is much lower compared to four-year colleges—and in some cases you can go right into the workforce with the training you need,” says McNair.

The pride McNair feels about Wayne Community College can easily be heard in her voice when she speaks about the school. She says that since the COVID-19 virus, she has been proud to see how everyone at the college is so prepared for this pandemic. McNair said the college has sanitized the facility and has plans in place to provide instruction remotely for students. She said they are discussing how the students who do not have internet access or computers can still receive instruction. She also said there are plans in place so that employees can work and be paid. McNair stated, “This took a lot of advance planning on the part of the administration under the leadership of our most capable president, Dr. Thomas Walker.”

McNair said she is most proud of the high level of performance by the students at Wayne Community College. In essence, she is proud of Wayne Community College’s “report card,” stating that its “performance data is great, especially when compared to colleges of a similar size.”

Advancements McNair would like to see at the college include completing two building projects, one of which has already begun. Even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school is making sure construction continues on its new automotive building (while being consistent with social distancing requirements, of course). The school also has plans for an advanced manufacturing center. This project has not yet begun. However, McNair is hopeful that work on that project will begin as soon as the automotive building is completed.

As with most, if not all community colleges, McNair would also like to see enrollment increase, as well as expansion of the early middle college. She would love for the colleges to offer different programs that include a lot of training for high school students, whom she believes greatly benefit from this program.

To any new trustees out there, McNair offers this advice: “Be like a sponge and soak up as much information as you can. Go to committee meetings, board meetings, and functions and be an advocate for [your] college.” To be able to make informed decisions, McNair suggests asking questions at committee meetings and getting college staff (including the president) to clarify items that need to be further explained.

When she is not attending to college business, McNair enjoys exercising. She also enjoys doing things for her husband, who is not physically able to help with some of the day-to-day operations of the house like cooking. Additionally, McNair enjoys traveling and music; she even sings and plays a little piano.

To unwind, McNair loves bargain shopping. She admits that she takes great satisfaction in competing for a good bargain, be it furniture or clothes. When she visits places outside of her Goldsboro home, she enjoys finding a great deal on something that she can remember that visit by. However, it must be “at a real good price!”

McNair’s best vacation ever was in 2015 when she and a group of high school students visited five European countries. This was her second visit to Europe; she had gone previously in 2008. However, she really enjoyed the 2015 trip because she was visiting places where she could not be reached by phone; nor could she reach others. She says the trip was the “thrill of her life.” McNair’s bucket list does not include visiting anywhere new, but rather she would like to learn to swim and to improve her piano playing.

The best advice McNair has ever received came from a college professor. She says that following this advice is critical to being a good leader. His advice was, “Separate the trivial many from the critical few.” McNair also appreciated advice shared by Ron Edmonds, an educator and researcher of essential qualities of effective schools. Edmonds’ advice was this: “We already know enough about how to effectively educate all children. The question is: Why so far we haven’t?” McNair likes this advice because it makes educators reflect on the practices used and consider if they have used all the available tools to help children learn.

A few things “The Main Thing Lady” is proud of include her career in education (which also included the little-known fact that McNair coauthored an article on new teacher training for a national journal on staff development) and the many lives she has touched during her career. Additionally, she is proud to be a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a professional honorary society of women educators.

McNair has been married to her pastor husband for almost 44 years. She has two grown children—a daughter and a son—and one grandchild.