Book Review by: LaDonna R. Moore
University of Houston
In the era of increasing demand and expanding enrollment, institutions are continuously seeking ways to define and redefine student success. In Brzycki and Brzycki’s (2016) text, they offer a poignant and necessary critique of how silos in higher education can create a disjointed experience for students, and ultimately impact student success. The authors provide insight on how various functional areas within higher education should work collaboratively to maximize student potential and success. By refocusing the attention on students and allowing them to establish their own standards for success, students can be the determining factor in their own success, while higher education professionals (i.e., academic advisors, career advisors, faculty, CAPS professionals) serve as motivators, supporters, and coaches during their collegiate journeys.
Brzycki and Brzycki (2016) argue that student success cannot exist without focusing on student well-being, which consists of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement. The authors do an excellent job of establishing the connection between emotional/psychological well-being and the academic performance and success of undergraduate students. One of the key highlights of the text is that it provides advisors with multiple examples of promising practices from different institutions. The examples that are featured give advisors ideas for possible collaborative efforts with other functional areas on their campuses. For those advisors who may be looking for ways to partner with other units on campus in order to further student success Student Success in Higher Education would serve as a great reference.
One minor flaw in Student Success in Higher Education is that the authors take longer than expected to articulate their definition of high-impact practices, leaving readers to believe they are referring to Kuh et al’s (2005) high-impact educational practices mentioned in Student Success in College. Brzycki and Brzycki (2016) contend that Kuh’s high-impact educational practices do not consider the development of the whole person. Furthermore, while there is some overlap between the practices that Brzycki and Brzycki (2016) describe, the clear distinction between these practices and the high-impact educational practices that Kuh et al. have established relate to the emphasis on well-being and positive psychology attributes.
The high-impact practices that Brzycki and Brzycki (2016) expound on include: iSelf, The Success Predictor, and the Self across the Curriculum. The combination of these three high-impact practices form the Integrated Success Model (iSuccess model). For those academic advisors seeking ways to assist students with understanding who they are and how to define their success, the iSuccess model and this text would be useful resources.
Brzycki, E. J., & Brzycki, H. G. (2016). Student success in higher education: Developing the whole person through high-impact practices. State College, PA: BG Publishing.
Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J. H., & Whitt, E. J. (2005). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Student Success in Higher Education: Developing the Whole Person through High-Impact Practices. (2016). Elaine J. Brzycki and Henry G. Brzycki., BG Publishing. 187pp., $29.95, ISBN #978-0-9887161-5-5, http://www.brzyckigroup.com