Wisconsin Launches Country's 14th Student Success Center
May 18, 2017
Great Lakes Grant Adds Wisconsin to National Student Success Center Network
Community colleges nationwide are experimenting with various reforms to improve persistence and completion rates. While many of these efforts are successful, that success is often isolated to an individual institution. Truly moving the needle requires collaboration among colleges both within and across states.
The national Student Success Center Network addresses this issue by encouraging colleges to learn from each other. A Student Success Center is not a physical space, but rather a statewide hub that builds a cohesive approach to engagement, learning, and policy advocacy across a state's two-year colleges. This level of collaboration allows colleges to implement evidence-based reforms at scale—rather than as pilots—to help more students earn a degree or certificate.
Thirteen states have already established Student Success Centers with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and local funders. Each is coordinated by Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations.
With a three-year, $1.35 million grant from Great Lakes, JFF will help the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) launch the country's 14th Student Success Center. The Associate Vice President of WTCS's Office of Student Success will lead the Wisconsin Student Success Center. WTCS colleges will work to increase the number of students progressing toward and completing credentials, and address equity and achievement gaps.
Exploring the Landscape of Higher Education in Prison
What's the current state of correctional education, and what are the greatest opportunities for improvement within the field?
To find out, Great Lakes has commissioned the RAND Corporation, a trusted policy research organization, to conduct a landscape scan on higher education in prison. For this project, RAND will identify promising programs that present opportunities to replicate or expand correctional education.
We know postsecondary education can play an important role in the lives of incarcerated adults, but correctional education presents its own unique challenges. Many justice-involved adults are disadvantaged when it comes to education: it usually takes longer to get a degree in prison, access to technology is limited and programs are underfunded.
In recent years there has been growing interest in expanding higher education in prison—particularly those programs designed to put more incarcerated students on the path to degrees and certificates that will help them secure family-sustaining jobs after release. The report we commissioned from RAND will analyze the benefits and challenges of correctional education and provide recommendations geared toward developing effective, sustainable postsecondary programs. Great Lakes plans to use this information to guide new investments in correctional education, and we look forward to sharing the report's findings with the field.
Students and Colleges Share Success in Our 2016 Philanthropy Report
Last year Great Lakes awarded over 50 grants focused on making postsecondary degrees, credentials and certificates accessible to as many students as possible. These grants reflect our belief that overcoming barriers to graduation requires engaging both students and colleges, with success being their shared goal. We invite you to learn more about the seeds of hope we've planted and the discoveries we've reaped in our latest philanthropy report.
Receive information about grant opportunities, initiatives, and the progress we're making together.
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