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taken years for an innovation like that to catch on. "What really matters is that, a year ago, I would have been talking about predictive analytics and telling you that we have three campuses actively using it. And now I can say we have nine." KAI DREKMEIER Inside Track While much of the attention in higher education reform is focused on academic issues, the reality is that students' life outside the classroom plays an even bigger role in whether they graduate. That's where student-success coaching comes in. When Drekmeier cofounded the for-profit Inside Track with Alan Tripp in 2001, coaching was an unknown quantity. Now, after contracting with colleges to coach more than a million students, Drekmeier knows that the model works. Unlike tutors, who Kai Drekmeier help with immediate academic challenges like an upcoming exam, Inside Track's student-success coaches focus on developing long-term life skills: handling family and work obligations, fitting into the campus community, staying motivated to graduate. A Stanford study in 2011 found that Inside Track coaching led to improvements in college persistence and completion of about 5 percentage points; last year, a large-scale program with more than 2,000 low-income public university and community college students in Indiana yielded slightly greater improvements. Those numbers aren't earth-shattering, but they're significant-and, Drekmeier points out, the coaching pays for itself, since students who stay in school keep paying tuition. Over the years, Inside Track has made its services cheaper by incorporating web-based coaching for the kinds of support that don't require a sit-down meeting. Like the other leaders in this list, Drekmeier, president of Inside Track, is interested in making a systemic impact. To that end, he has been shifting Inside Track's focus toward "capacity building"- training colleges and universities to do their own coaching. "It's what the market is asking for," he says. "But also it's helping us accelerate progress on our mission, which is really to help improve graduation rates, career success, and unlock human potential-and we're serious about that." Indeed, Drekmeier speaks so consistently in terms of helping others that it's easy to forget he's running a for-profit company. He comes by his idealism honestly. "My parents are basically socialists," he says. "I'm the first person in my family, in this generation or the last one, to have a for-profit-type job." Gilad Edelman is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Additional research and writing provided by Washington Monthly interns Katie Hazen and Jose Soto. STAND STRONG STAND OUT Now offering programs in: * Business Analytics * College of Osteopathic Medicine Early Assurance Program (in conjunction with Ohio University's Heritage College NEW! STEAM Innovation Center (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) www.otterbein.edu/visit 66 September/October 2016 SCHEDULE A VISIT TODAY! 614.823.1500 Courtesy of Inside Track of Osteopathic Medicine) * Criminology and Justice Studies * Environmental Health and Safety Engineering (Fall '17) * Mechanical Engineering (Fall '17) * Studio Art (BFA) * Systems Engineering http://www.otterbein.edu/visit http://www.otterbein.edu/visit

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