Community and technical colleges nationwide are experimenting with various reforms and programs to increase completion rates. While these efforts might help a small number of students, success is often limited to an individual institution, and that's not enough to move the needle. Deeper alignment with other approaches across the system, the state and the country is critical to scale effective practices and help the greatest number of students earn postsecondary credentials.
Though not a physical space, a Student Success Center is a statewide hub that organizes two-year colleges around common action to accelerate and improve student persistence and completion. Thirteen states currently operate centers managed by Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations.
Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates has made a three-year, $1.35 million grant to JFF to launch a Student Success Center in Wisconsin. The Associate Vice President of the Wisconsin Technical College System's (WTCS's) Office of Student Success will lead the statewide Student Success Center. WTCS colleges will work to increase the number of students progressing toward and completing credentials, and address equity and achievement gaps.
"Great Lakes is excited to partner with the Wisconsin Technical College System and Jobs for the Future to bring the Student Success Center model to Wisconsin," said Amy Kerwin, Vice President - Community Investments at Great Lakes. "The model will allow the state's community colleges to implement evidence-based reforms at scale—rather than as pilots—to help more students earn a degree or certificate. Joining the Student Success Center Network will allow the Wisconsin center to collaborate with, learn from, and share technical assistance resources with the 13 other states operating centers."
Through the Wisconsin Student Success Center, WTCS colleges will analyze and share data and develop a set of common policy goals, prioritizing completion for all students. They will build a community of practice to broaden the use of effective student success strategies, better align state and national initiatives, and leverage the knowledge and experience of the National Student Success Center Network. To learn more, visit community.mygreatlakes.org.