NEWS

November 9, 2017

New England States Join Complete College America to Focus on Student Momentum, Success and Completion

MANCHESTER, NH — Higher education leaders in New England will gather today alongside national experts to discuss strategies that increase student retention and graduation in the region. The event – hosted by the New England Board of Higher Education and national nonprofit Complete College America (CCA) – kicks off a region-wide event to better support students in their first year of college and significantly increase their likelihood of graduating.

The event represents collaboration between Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island. Each state is being led by a Complete College State team comprised of higher education leaders who were selected to guide college completion efforts throughout the region. In addition to leading state efforts, the teams will participate in CCA’s annual convenings and summits, sharing insights with a national network of states, systems, regions and institutions and collaborating with college completion experts to accelerate their work.

Today’s event – which is being held at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel – will bring together more than 150 faculty, staff and administrators from public postsecondary institutions in the New England region.

“Leaders from across New England will come together at CCA’s Momentum Convening to share promising practices that seek to improve access, retention, and completion rates,” said Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Chief of Staff Elena Quiroz-Livanis. “The event will allow campus faculty and administrators, as well as state policy makers, to learn about what approaches institutions from different states are implementing in order to help students succeed.”

Participants will hear from Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Patricia Marshall, Associate Vice Chancellor of Finance and Strategic Planning of the Community College System of New Hampshire Charles Ansell, and CCA Vice President Sarah Ancel.

In addition, Hellen Tate of Wingate University, Loretta Griffy of Austin Peay State University, and Amy Getz from the Charles A. Dana Center will discuss strategies and share insights on effective implementation of proven student success strategies.

The event will focus on 15 to Finish, advisor training and the use of degree maps. 15 to Finish – a research-based initiative originally launched in Hawaii – encourages students to take 15 credit hours per semester or 30 per year, increasing their likelihood of success and ensuring that they graduate on time. Efforts around advisor training and degree maps will focus on simplifying the maze of academic courses and student requirements through the use of semester-by-semester academic maps, designing support services that increase success for adult learners, and creating structured schedules that allow students to better balance work, life, and academics.

“Complete College America’s New England Momentum Convening will be a milestone in a collaborative approach towards increasing student completion in the region,” said Associate Vice Chancellor of Finance and Strategic Planning of the Community College System of New Hampshire Charles Ansell. “As much as a learning experience, this Momentum event will be one that galvanizes action, and redoubles commitment to strategies and initiatives around student success.”

Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island have committed to working with Complete College America to increase the percentage of New England residents with a postsecondary credential. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have participated extensively in scaling key components of this initiative such as reforming remedial math and English.

“More than any other time in our history, a college degree may be the single most important factor in providing greater access to the American Dream,” said CCA President Tom Sugar. “This effort ensures that Dream can become a reality for many more of New England’s residents, empowering students to start their college career with momentum and supporting them with proven strategies as they work toward graduation day.”

Complete College Team Leads

  • Ross Gittell, Chancellor, Community College System of New Hampshire– New Hampshire Team Lead
  • Yasmine Ziesier, Chief Academic & Academic Technology Officer, Vermont State Collges– Vermont State Lead
  • Elena Quiroz-Livanis, Chief of Staff,  Massachusetts Department of Higher Education,- Massachusetts Team Lead
  • Kimberly Bright, Chief of Staff, Rhode Island Office of Post-Secondary Education- Rhode Island Team Lead
  • Janet Sortor, Chief Academic Office, Maine Community College System- Maine Team Lead
  • Jane Gates, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Connecticut  State Colleges and Universities- Connecticut Team Lead 

 

October 25, 2017

Montana Higher Education Leaders, Complete College America Launch Effort to Boost Student Success and College Completion

MISSOULA, MT — Higher education leaders in Montana will gather today alongside national experts to discuss strategies that increase student retention and graduation in the state. The event – hosted by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and Complete College America – kicks off Montana’s Momentum Pathways Project, an effort to scale evidence-based strategies that support students in their first year of college and sustain that momentum through graduation.

The event represents collaboration between the Montana University System and the newly-formed Complete College Montana Team, a group of higher education leaders who have been selected to guide college completion efforts throughout the Treasure State. In addition to leading state efforts, the team will participate in CCA’s annual convenings and summits, sharing insights with a national network of states, systems, regions and institutions and collaborating with college completion experts to accelerate their work.

Today’s event – which is being held at the University of Montana – will bring together more than 150 faculty, staff and administrators from every public postsecondary institution in Montana and will include six Tribal College presidents, high school counselors and administrators, state government officials and content experts from around the country.

Participants will hear from Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian, Deputy Commissioner and CCA Fellow John Cech, and CCA President Tom Sugar. In addition, Jim Dragna of California State University, James McCoy of the College of Southern Nevada, Brian French of the University of Montana, Erik Rose of Montana State University and Chairsty Stewart of Montana State University will discuss strategies and share their insights on effective implementation.

The Momentum Pathways Project will focus on 15 to Finish, advisor training and the use of degree maps. 15 to Finish – a research-based initiative originally launched in Hawaii – encourages students to take 15 credit hours per semester or 30 per year, increasing their likelihood of success and ensuring that they graduate on time. Efforts around advisor training and degree maps will simplify the maze of academic courses and student requirements by creating easy to follow academic maps, design support services that increase success for adult learners, and create structured schedules that allow students to balance work, life, and academics.

“The Complete College Montana Summit is to be one of the most important things to happen in the history of the Montana University System,” said Deputy Commissioner John Cech. “As we gather together, representing all of public higher education in the state of Montana, we will not only highlight the great work happening in Montana, but will provide an opportunity for institutions to share best practices with one another. Everyone is committed and focused on new ideas and strategies that will boost student success and completion.”

Since 2013, Montana has been committed to working with Complete College America to increase the percentage of Montanans with a postsecondary credential. Montana has successfully executed several key components of this initiative such as creating performance based funding, expanding dual enrollment opportunities for high school students, redesigning developmental education to better serve students who enter college academically underprepared, and aligning degree requirements with relevant math coursework.

“More than any other time in our history, a college degree may be the single most important factor in providing greater access to the American Dream,” said CCA President Tom Sugar. “This effort ensures that Dream can become a reality for many more of the state’s residents, empowering students to start their college career with momentum and supporting them with proven strategies as they work toward graduation day.”

Complete College Montana Team Members

John Cech, Deputy Commissioner, Montana University System – Team Lead
Dave Gerchick, Dean, Highlands College – Implementation Lead, Two-Year Sector
Bob Mokwa, Provost, Montana State University – Implementation Lead, Four-Year Sector
Erik Rose, Program Manager, Montana University System – Metrics and Evidence Lead
Bob Hoar, Provost, MSU – Billings – Policy and Legislation Lead
Siri Smillie, Education Policy Advisor, State of Montana – Governor’s Representative
Paula Short, Director of Communications, University of Montana – Communications Lead

 

October 23, 2017

EAB Navigate and Starfish by Hobsons Announced as Winners of Complete College America’s 2017 Technology Seal of Approval

Complete College America today announced the recipients of the organization’s 2017 Seal of Approval. The award, established in 2016, recognizes software tools that most effectively promote college completion and student success through alignment with CCA’s Game Changer strategies. This year’s winners are EAB Navigate and Starfish by Hobsons.

For 2017, the award program evaluated vendors and their software solutions for functionality that supports timely pathways to completion and the use of informed choice and proactive advising. This includes the ability to default register students onto their chosen academic maps, easy integration of the registration process and software, and the mechanisms for ongoing monitoring and reporting when students get off track.

Both recipients met the standards established by CCA’s Seal of Approval Advisory Board – a blue-ribbon panel of top technologists and higher education leaders. The board awarded the Seal of Approval based on a defined set of best practices as well as a robust evaluation of effective implementations and aspirational standards.

EAB Navigate enables colleges to achieve critical goals of the Guided Pathways model with a single, comprehensive platform. Through the platform, students have access to guided onboarding to clarify paths, end goals and smart academic planning to help choose and enter a pathway; advisors benefit from 360-degree advisor dashboards to help students stay on path; and senior leaders can make data-driven decisions based on actionable administrator views to ensure all student succeed. EAB Navigate empowers students to make informed choices with proactive advising support when needed – a balance that historically has been difficult to achieve. This is the second year in a row that EAB has won this prestigious award.

Starfish by Hobsons helps institution scale student success, support and retention initiatives to enable students to engage more effectively with the campus community and achieve their academic goals.  Starfish offers solutions to support the CCA completion agenda through early alerts and student tracking, online appointment scheduling and case management, personalized degree-based roadmaps to graduation and analytics reporting and predictive modeling.

“We know that far too many college students wander aimlessly through their academic experience, racking up excess credits and semesters, taking on additional student loan debt, and ultimately graduating late, if at all,” said Complete College America president Tom Sugar. “The Seal of Approval seeks to recognize those software providers that are tackling these challenges head on, providing structural changes, new systems and the use of behavioral economics to put students on a path to graduation.”

The award recipients will be recognized as part of Complete College America’s 2017 Annual Convening in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 30th. The event will also include demos from the winning software providers and a facilitated session with the Advisory Board to describe required functionality for the 2018 program.

October 11, 2017

Sugar: Stop Defending the Status Quo and Transform Higher Ed for Non-Traditional Students

Complete College America released today the following statement in response to the new report, Community Insights: Issue 3 by Civitas Learning:

Part-time students absolutely matter. That’s why we refuse to accept that their persistently low graduation rates are the way it has to be. While we agree that not all students can take 30 credits a year, many more should, increasing their likelihood of success and saving them and their families tens of thousands of dollars in the process. Colleges from coast to coast — and many states — are finding students do better and finish faster with a nudge to take more credits.

Institutions and higher education organizations must step beyond defending the status quo and push instead to transform the way we deliver higher education, giving non-traditional students the momentum and support they need to not only take more credits, but to persist to graduation day.

September 6, 2017

CCA Statement on New Center for American Progress Report Exploring Part-Time Students

Complete College America released today the following statement from organization president Tom Sugar in response to Hidden in Plain Sight, a new report from the Center for American progress that explores part-time students in America:

American higher education is failing part-time students, and our country’s efforts to permanently close achievement gaps and boost college attainment are suffering because of it,” said Sugar. “For too long, students with complicated lives have been told they need to change, picking up classes when they can and greatly extending the time it takes to earn a degree. Instead, colleges should be asking what they can do to better serve these students. The path forward is clear: strategies can be implemented right now to boost student momentum, increase credit accumulation, and make possible full-time enrollment for many more students, dramatically increasing their likelihood of success. Let’s get on with it.

August 24, 2017

Statement on the Passing of Tennessee Higher Education Leader and CCA Fellow David Wright

Complete College America released today the following statement from organization president Tom Sugar on the passing of David Wright. Wright served as Chief Policy Officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and as the state’s lead for work with CCA. He was recently designated as a Complete College America Fellow for his exemplary national leadership in college completion efforts:

David Wright was intensely focused on student success, and he recognized that the future of Tennessee and of our country depends on the fierce pursuit of that cause. He believed in the power of higher education to ensure students unlocked their talents and accessed their dreams, and regardless of shifting politics or competing priorities, was steadfast in his devotion to that work.

Personal challenges provided David unique insight into the fragile nature of life, and he leveraged that wisdom into greater and more urgent action for the benefit of the college students he served. His colleagues and fellow impatient reformers in the college completion movement must now do the same, just as David Wright would have commanded.

August 2, 2017

Sarah Ancel Named Vice President of Strategy: The Alliance and Policy

INDIANAPOLIS – Complete College America announced today that Sarah Ancel has been named Vice President of Strategy: The Alliance and Policy, adding to her portfolio of work the coordination of the organization’s 42-member Alliance and its network of Fellows.

Ancel joined Complete College America in 2016 to lead the organization’s state and institutional policy efforts, including the creation of the comprehensive policy resource, New Rules: Policies to Strengthen and Scale the Game Changers. She has also guided the organization’s early thinking on efforts around adult learners and other non-traditional students.

“Sarah is a strategic thinker with keen insight into the dynamics of state- and system-level leadership and an acute understanding of the give and take that occurs in legislatures and board rooms,” said Complete College America President Tom Sugar. “But more importantly, she is driven and passionate about the potential of collective action and the results we can achieve for students all over this country.”

Before joining Complete College America, Ancel served as Associate Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Policy at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. In that role, she was responsible for implementing the Commission’s strategic plan by overseeing foundation-funded projects, coordinating Commission activities and developing and advancing the Commission’s legislative priorities.

Ancel’s appointment is effective immediately.

August 1, 2017

Julie Johnson to Become Chief Academic Officer in New Faculty-Focused, Student Success Effort

Complete College America today announced that Dr. Julie Johnson, who currently serves as Vice President of Strategy: Alliance and 15 to Finish, will be leaving her post at the national nonprofit to serve as Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer at the Faculty Guild, a new effort focused on improving student success through engagement with college faculty. She will transition to her new position by September 2017.

Johnson joined Complete College America in 2014, helping to lead the organization’s 15 to Finish initiative and the management of its 42-member Alliance. During this time, Johnson helped to grow the Alliance through the addition of three new members, including its first consortium member, the Central Valley of Higher Education Consortium in California. On behalf of the organization, Johnson also co-authored the federal policy brief, On-Time Pell: Maintain Access, Ensure Completion.

Prior to Complete College America, Johnson helped start the University of the District of Columbia Community College, serving as founding Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Johnson also led efforts to bring Washington, D.C. into the Complete College America Alliance and served as CCA Alliance lead for the district.

“Julie is a devoted and impatient reformer in higher education, working each and every day to ensure we are putting students first,” said CCA President Tom Sugar. “In this new role, Julie will continue her tireless advocacy, challenging the status quo and forging a new future in American higher education that empowers faculty and focuses on pedagogy.  We wish Julie and her new colleagues at the Faculty Guild much success and look forward to exploring future collaborations.”

About the Faculty Guild

The Faculty Guild is an educational services organization founded by David Yaskin, founder and CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. The Faculty Guild is dedicated to improving student outcomes by helping faculty improve their own teaching through re-invented and personalized professional development. Its model is based on more than six years of research and development, led by Dr. Gail Mellow and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

June 16, 2017

Texas Enacts the Largest-Scale Implementation of Corequisite Remediation in the Country

Statement from Complete College America President Tom Sugar on Texas House Bill 2223, which enacts the implementation of Corequisite Support for 75% of remedial students in the state – the largest-scale adoption of the reform to date. The legislation passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and was signed into law this week by Texas Governor Greg Abbott:

“Traditional remediation is a significant barrier to college dreams, but no longer in Texas,” said Complete College America president Tom Sugar. “Governor Abbott, Rep. Giddings, Rep. White and the state’s institutions have taken a bold stand for their students, replacing a broken system of remedial education with a proven strategy that is quadrupling student success in math and English in a quarter of the time. This move will pay huge dividends, and Texas will have many more college graduates because of it.”

For more information on Corequisite Remediation and the results being achieved around the country, visit our report Corequisite Remediation: Spanning the Completion Divide.

June 2, 2017

Statement from Complete College America President Tom Sugar on New Study from Strada Education Network and Gallup

National nonprofit Complete College America released today the following statement from organization president Tom Sugar on the release of Education Consumer Pulse, a new study by Gallup and Strada Education Network that reveals more than half of U.S. adults have second thoughts about their higher education decisions:

“Higher education shouldn’t lead to higher regrets,” said Complete College America president Tom Sugar. “We’re proud of our partnership with Strada Education Network to ensure it doesn’t, replacing the all-too-common uncertainty of college decision-making with a process that puts purpose first, utilizing strategies that ensure many more students will start strong, earn credentials of value, and move on to fulfilling careers.”

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