August 6, 2021

An Open Letter to the Ed Tech Community – Focus on Student Success

By Jason Chin, SVP Service Experience and Digital Operations

Chalkboard that has doodles drawn all over it and text that says

I love to compete. Competition is a good thing when its spirit is pure – no cheating, underhanded tricks to hinder a competitor, or reviewing the fine print to find a loophole. When competition is pure, competitors study and push themselves harder, sharpen their focus, plan around their goals and drive forward every day, laser-focused on success. We’re all watching the embodiment of this spirit as the Olympics from TVs in living rooms around the world.

I see this pure spirit of competition in the Education industry. Players have built upon their strengths, improved upon their weaknesses, and transitioned from antiquated approaches to technology-enabled ones. Today, we must pull together as an industry and focus on our students, not on competition.

Over the course of the next 10 weeks, millions and millions of students will begin their Fall semester. They’re students of all types and backgrounds – young and old, traditional and non-traditional, affluent and impoverished, domestic and international. So very different, and each with their own unique story and dream. The one thing they all have in common is that they have a vision for their future, and they are relying upon the Education industry to help them there.

Within Cengage, we rally around a quote, "Confidence is success remembered." As an industry, it's our job to enable them to be successful in their first days of this journey, to instill in them the confidence that they can be successful through the rest of it.

My job at Cengage, as SVP of Service Experience, is to ensure that our users' perspectives are at the core of our everyday decision making. As I enter my ninth “Fall Rush” season, my focus is on our students who are trying to transform their lives for the better. They will be anxious and hesitant, maybe even a bit scared.

Today, I ask you to think about those students. Put yourself in their shoes. Feel their anxiety, their confusion. Give them a support experience that makes them realize that the work we've been doing all year has been aimed at helping them succeed and become confident learners. Realize that emotional support is as important as transactional support. Rush season isn’t easy on us, but it’s harder on the students. They are not dollars and cents, and they are not case IDs. They are our collective kids, our sisters, our parents – our family. Let's sharpen our focus around their success and give them the best Fall Rush season ever.

In this competition, the true winner should be our students.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.