Action Lab: WISHES to Action

As we prepare for yet another unprecedented academic year, timely and actionable data about students’ wellbeing coupled with the use of structured methods for changemaking is essential to an effective campus response and transforming our campus norms, structures, and processes to enable all students to thrive.

No doubt, we go further faster when working together.  As such, the 20×30 Network will be launching a virtual Action Lab for Fall 2021 with a focus on measurement for improvement.  Applications to participate are due August 20, 2021.  There is no cost to participate; however, participating campuses are expected to actively engage in all Action Lab activities throughout the semester.  



Action Labs are cohort-based, action-oriented opportunities for your campus team to focus on building agency, capacity, and capability for changemaking by using improvement science and design thinking, monthly calls, monthly reports, and collaborative learning techniques.  Participation will:

  • strengthen relationships between you and other 20×30 changemakers with similar interests and priorities
  • foster peer support for problem-solving
  • set and work toward individual and collective improvement aims on your campus
  • create space for sharing emerging innovations and best practices 
  • use measurement for learning and improvement 


The Fall 2021 Action Lab will take place September 2021 – December 2021 and focus on helping colleges and universities to build data infrastructure and use data effectively to transform campus systems that enable all students to thrive.  

What to Expect from the Action Lab

The key word is ACTION.  Using an “all teach, all learn, all lead” philosophy, this experiential opportunity will help participating campuses implement new techniques for creating intentional, impactful change.  Participating campuses will be expected to advance improvement projects in between monthly calls and report on their progress. Teams are supported in creating change through activities to onboard and lay the foundation, team coaching/consultative support, Zoom meetings where teams learn from expert faculty and each other, and a dashboard with your WISHES data — all for no cost.  

Who Should Participate

Any institution of higher education is invited to participate, including 4 year institutions and community colleges.  No experiences with data are necessary.  

Requirements for Participation

  1. Establish a team from your institution who will participate in the Action Lab activities.  Members of the team should include people on your campus who have an interest in using data to improve student wellbeing.  Teams should include a minimum of four people — at least one member should be a current student.  
  2. Administer the Wellbeing Improvement Survey for Higher Education Settings (WISHES) at least twice in the Fall Semester.  The tool is free, campuses can choose their own sampling and administration methods, and campuses can add unlimited custom questions. 
  3. Identify priorities for action based on the data collected and begin to advance your improvement projects
  4. Participate in two onboarding webinars on:
    • September 1st, 2 PM – 3:30 PM ET
    • September 22nd, 2 PM – 3:30 PM ET
    • All teams are expected to participate in both calls
  5. Participate in monthly calls on:
    • September 29, 2 PM – 3:30 PM ET
    • October 27, 2 PM – 3:30 PM ET
    • November 17, 2 PM – 3:30 PM ET
    • December 15, 2 PM – 3:30 PM ET
    • All teams are expected to participate in all calls
  6. Submit brief progress reports to facilitate problem-solving and accelerate learning and improvement across participating campuses

About the Wellbeing Improvement Survey for Higher Education Settings (WISHES)

WISHES is a brief survey comprising a set of validated instruments to assess long-term population wellbeing and educational outcomes, intermediate outcomes, and student experiences that influence wellbeing.  Below are the survey domains.  Colleges and universities will need to sign a data use agreement before the tool can be used.  During the Action lab, participating teams can learn from each other about how to galvanize support to use WISHES.  

Core Survey Measurement Domains 

  • Flourishing
  • Psychological distress
  • Self-reported overall health and mental health
  • Academic risk
  • Resilience
  • Binge drinking
  • Mental health treatment engagement 
  • Financial insecurity
  • Experiences of discrimination 
  • Belonging
  • Excited about learning
  • Supportive friend
  • Engagement in extracurricular activities 
  • Mentorship
  • Caring professors
  • Equitable wellbeing

WISHES was developed with funding from Wellfleet.

Considerations for Administration of WISHES

Please consider the following questions, to the best of your ability, about your plan to administer WISHES.  You may evolve your methods over time as you learn more about best practices from other teams.  There will also be opportunities for consultative support.  

  1. Will the survey be administered electronically, on paper, or over the phone?  If electronic adminstration, which platform?
  2. How long will the survey remain open?  Will you send any reminders?
  3. How do you operationally define the population (e.g., all enrolled students) from which the sample will be pulled? 
  4. How many students will you invite to complete the survey each month? How did you determine this number? 
  5. How will you select students to participate? What, if any, method will you use to prevent repetitive participation? 
  6. How will students be invited to complete the survey?
  7. Which department and individual(s) will have responsibility for administering the survey? 
  8. How will the data be stored and maintained? 

Application – Submit by August 20, 2021


Please submit your repsonses to the following questions via this online application.  There is no cost ot participate in the Fall 2021 Action Lab.

  1. List the names, email addresses, titles/roles, and departments (if applicable) of all members of your team who will be participating in the Action Lab.  We understand that student leadership may not be identified until the semester begins. You can also change or add new members of your team at any point throughout the Action Lab.  
  2. What is your team’s primary motivation for joining this Action Lab? 
  3. Why is it important for your institution to undertake measurement and improvement work now?
  4. What does your team want to accomplish in this Action Lab? Please be specific.
  5. What is your institution measuring and tracking to inform improvement of student health, mental health, and wellbeing and related outcomes?
  6. What can other colleges/universities learn from your team? 
  7. What questions do you have about WISHES and how you might administer the survey? 
  8. What will you need to do to get the data use agreement signed? Will you need any support from 20×30 leadership?