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Civitas Learning – Brings Together The Best Of New Technology And Data Science

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Startup Civitas Learning is a game changer in predictive analytics SaaS space. Civitas Learning provides data-driven, educationally valuable insights to students, faculty and advisors. Civitas Learning recently announced $16 Million in new funding led by Rethink Education ($28.9 Million in total funding). Below is our interview with Andy Prince from Civitas Learning:

andy princeQ: For those who have never heard of it, how would you describe Civitas Learning?

A: Civitas Learning brings together the best of new technology, design thinking, and data science in its mission to help a million more college students learn well and finish strong. Using a cloud-based, predictive analytics platform and engaging applications, Civitas Learning helps higher education partner institutions bring deep insights to decision makers, and personalized, real-time recommendations directly to the frontlines for students, faculty, and advisors to measurably improve student learning, persistence, and graduation.

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The Million More Matrix - an illustration of the different quadrants in which we find institutions on their pathways to become student success scientists

The Million More Matrix – an illustration of the different quadrants in which we find institutions on their pathways to become student success scientists

Q: What is your core competence?

A: Catalyzing a community of data science practitioners and design thinkers to help drive student success and deliver positive outcomes. We chose the name Civitas because of its meaning: “community” in Latin. We have brought together a compelling collection of diverse higher education institutions that help shape the work we are doing, as well as regularly engage each other about how to best leverage our data science expertise to shape policy and practice. From a data science and design perspective, we are building what we believe is the best and brightest team specifically focused on the education sector.

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CivitasLearning Improves Academic Outcomes

CivitasLearning Improves Academic Outcomes

Q: What advantage does Civitas Learning have over its competitors?

A: Without a doubt, our people and our approach to the market. We have the absolute best and brightest people focused on the predictive analytics work we are doing in higher education – from data science to app design to strategic services. Additionally, our approach to our partners is very much focused on outcomes and success. We are not an off-the-shelf solution. We deliberately work closely with each individual institution to deliver the optimal predictive analytics solution they need when they need it.

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Q: What were the main challenges you faced in developing the company?

A: Anytime you are establishing a new category, a new infrastructure if you will, it presents both challenges and opportunities. Given the nascent state of practice in using predictive analytics to improve student success, none of our earliest customers had budget set aside for solutions like ours, or internal departments or resources committed to their implementation. So our earliest conversations involved re-framing a problem domain with which our customers were quite familiar, then helping them think creatively about how to fund experimentation in this practice and effective implementation. One of the advantages of being venture funded, especially in those early days, was our ability to invest tremendous resources in our early customers—before charging them–as they helped us establish effective use cases and results for the tools we were developing.

Q: What can we expect from Civitas Learning in next six months?

A: More of the same great work we are doing with our higher education partners to bring personalized, real-time recommendations to the front lines (for students, faculty and administrators) to help students learn well and finish strong. This year we will be spending considerable R&D resources on extending our work to include deeper K12 data and career and jobs data into our data science and student-facing applications, to extend our impact across a broader stretch of the student lifecycle. Moreover, we want to build benchmarking capabilities into the mix so our partners can learn more from and with each other. We are committed to continuing to push the frontier or practice in this space, so while we extend the availability of our current solutions to more and more partners, we are also going to continue deep R&D work in pursuit of our next innovations and data science insights.

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