ACE Learner Success Lab Project


Iowa State University is one of 10 institutions selected to participate in the American Council on Education's Learner Success Laboratory (LSL). The 12- to 18-month initiative, supported by a grant from the Strada Education Network, is an innovative change management process for systems, processes, programs and culture, all aimed at boosting student success. The lab process aims to integrate evidence-based practices for persistence and completion, life design and career exploration, and workforce skills development with the goal of developing a comprehensive strategy for learner success. The lab project will also fulfill Iowa State University’s continuous improvement requirement (Quality Initiative) for the Higher Learning Commission.

Core Steering Group

The work of the Iowa State’s project team will be directed by:

Shawn Marie Boyne
Director of Academic Quality and Undergraduate Education

Robert Reason
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, College of Human Sciences

Kenyatta Shamburger 
Assistant Dean of Students for Intercultural Initiatives and Resource Centers and Director of Multicultural Student Affairs

Karen Zunkel
Executive Director, Institutional Research

Project Mentor: Lindsey Myers, Director of the Learner Success Lab, American Council on Education

Project Scope

The steering committee with the help of six subcommittees will launch a comprehensive review of the university's student success initiatives using the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion; data-informed curriculum; and agility and transformation. The committee then will propose a strategic plan for student success and present that plan to Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost and Toyia Younger, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs.

The project team will use the ACE Model of Comprehensive Learner Success which is depicted below:


ACE Model for Comprehensive Learner Success graphic

Definitions of Core Elements, Target Areas, and Strategic Lens


Each of the Project's Six Subcommittees will examine learner success at Iowa State using a unique lens:

♦ Institutional Commitment and Policy

♦ Leadership and Structure

♦ Curriculum and Co-Curriculum

♦ Mobility

♦ Partnerships

♦ Faculty and Staff Support

Project Organizational Chart (PDF, 83KB)

Project Updates:

  • December 2020: Steering Committee Appointed
  • February 2021: Site visits with 17 campus teams completed
  • March 2021: Steering Committee discussion on the three project lenses
  • April 2021-  : Committees begin collecting background data for Learner Success Audit
  • June 9, 2021: Provost Wickert participates in ACE Presidential Roundtable to with Presidents from nine cohort institutions
  • January 15, 2022: Project Committees Complete Data Collection Activities
  • February 3, 2022: Listening Session with DEI Think Tank Members
  • March 31, 2022: Scheduled Date for External Review


people in a meeting

Project Steering Committee 

  • Shawn Boyne, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost
  • Jordan Brooks, College of Design
  • Sharron Evans, Dean of Students office
  • Monica Lamm, College of Engineering and Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching faculty fellow
  • Debbie Nistler, Extension and Outreach
  • Jennifer Owens, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Matt Pistilli, Division of Student Affairs
  • Robert Reason, College of Human Sciences
  • Kenyatta Shamburger, Dean of Students office
  • Amy Slagell, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Charles Small, Athletics department
  • Jidong Sun, student in the College of Engineering
  • Howard Tyler, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Katie Whipple, Academic Success Center
  • Kathy Wieland, Ivy College of Business
  • Susan Wohlsdorf-Arendt, College of Human Sciences and Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost faculty fellow
  • Karen Zunkel, Institutional Research