Civitas Learning partners with universities and colleges to help more students learn in better ways and graduate. The company provides tools and supportive services for educators to use to connect data streams, and personalize information and support for their students. Since its launch in 2011, Civitas Learning has grown tremendously through the acquisition of 5 education companies.
The company partners with roughly 400 colleges and universities and has a direct impact on about 8 million students. Civitas Learning has a goal to help a million more students per year graduate by 2025 through the use of data science. The company is located in the heart of downtown Austin with a beautiful view of Lady Bird Lake.
The lake serves as an important part of the culture at Civitas Learning, as employees are encouraged to visit the lake often through the company's wellness initiatives. The office is also directly across the street from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
At Civitas, they know that in order to help students in college succeed they're going to need the right tools for the job. And since Civitas is all about education, it makes sense those tools would be through training. For example, when employees are being introduced to a new tool or product, training can vary by complexity and the employees' knowledge base.
If a tool can be applicable across engineering teams, the employees receive a clear and concise business and engineering value to increase adoption likeliness. "Training is done either with experts on site, or with a lunch-and-learn to leverage internal expertise," said Pierre Padovani, Chief Architect. "Simple tools, on the other hand, can just have wiki-style documentation available for the engineers to reference."
Employees at Civitas Learning are constantly surrounded by education. This really fuels their passion to improve student outcomes. But it's not known as passion around the office. Instead they refer to it as "scrappy enthusiasm." That's why Alex Huckabee, Team Lead for Partner Care, says the song that best resembles the culture at Civitas Learning is "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.
"We cultivate lifelong learners, which is a necessity for working in higher ed, where the tech, attitudes, politics and best practices have become increasingly complex while old assumptions no longer hold true," he said. "We embrace the tough questions, like how to improve student success, and we work hard to find solutions."
In order to really embrace the culture, the company has several initiatives in place. An all-company town hall meeting is held every Friday morning. Accompanied by breakfast tacos, employees share any new partnerships they've formed and product releases. It's important to the company that everyone celebrates even the small wins.
Last year, a new tradition formed during the town hall where employees get to award a colleague the "Inno Blazer." The red blazer celebrates a person who has contributed innovative solutions to the company. Once a decorative addition is placed on the blazer, that employee gets to honor the next employee.
In addition, the company hosts a Bookless Book Club (gasp). All Civitas employees are invited to attend and participate in this club. During each club meeting, a club member will give a presentation about a book that is relevant to questions in higher education. Since the company views its staff as higher education experts, they really try to spread that knowledge all around.
As previously stated, employees' wellness is very important at Civitas. It comes as no surprise that the company offers an endless list of wellness initiatives that it takes very seriously. From gym memberships to the in-house gym to a $200 incentive to give up your parking spot and walk or ride your bike to work, Civitas really goes above and beyond to ensure you're healthy.
"Over the past year we've seen more requests for healthy food options, more lunch-n-learns regarding health and wellness and we see lots of people walking or riding their bikes to work. More and more people take advantage of the free gym use in the building or take their one-on-one meetings to the streets to walk around downtown on a lovely day," said Huckabee.
Civitas has a Wellness Room onsite that is available for you to book. Inside the room is a massage table and a comfy chair for breast-feeding mothers. Team members within the company challenge each other with FitBit steps competitions. The company also sponsors a volleyball team for employees.
The free Wednesday catered lunches and Friday morning breakfasts feature an array of healthy snacks, fresh fruit and other healthy options. The company also sponsors several lunch-and-learns featuring visits from doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and fitness trainers who all offer information on nutrition, fitness, desk posture and more.
"[These benefits are] just part of caring for your employees," said Emily Washburn, Employee Experience Specialist. "We see everyone as a human first, not just a machine. We want our employees to be happy, healthy and balanced. That's the only way we can further our mission for student success as a whole."
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