UW Plans Town Hall Meetings on College Readiness
September 29, 2011 — University of Wyoming officials will explain their efforts to encourage college readiness and boost graduation rates during a series of public meetings beginning this week.
The "college preparation" town hall meetings are intended to brief constituents across Wyoming on the proposed redefinition of UW admission categories.
The sessions will feature UW Vice President for Student Affairs Sara Axelson, Vice President for Special Projects Carol Frost, and Associate Provost Andrew Hansen. They will present details of the proposal, provide background on the reasons for the changes and answer questions.
"More and more jobs in Wyoming are requiring postsecondary education," Frost says. "We look forward to meeting and talking to people around the state about how we can all work together to increase the proportion of adults with college certifications and degrees."
Here is the schedule for the meetings:
* Tuesday, Oct. 4 - Riverton High School Media Center, 6:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, Oct. 12 - Sheridan High School library, 6:30 p.m.
* Tuesday, Oct. 25 - Casper, UW Outreach Center, Room 150, 6:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, Oct. 26 -- Rock Springs, Homewood Suites, 6:30 p.m.
* Thursday, Oct. 27 -- Cody, Holiday Inn's Buffalo Bill Village, 6:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, Nov. 2 -- Cheyenne, Holiday Inn I-80's Laramie Room, 6:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, Nov. 9 - Gillette City Hall Community Room, 6:30 p.m.
Wyoming faces two challenges in preparing its young people for an increasingly knowledge-based economy, UW officials say. First, more K-12 students need to prepare for and enter college. Second, students who enter UW and the state's community colleges must stay in school and graduate in larger numbers.
UW's proposal would address both challenges by aligning its admission standards with the legislatively approved "success curriculum" for the Hathaway Scholarship Program and by providing additional support for students who don't meet the standard for assured admission. If approved by the UW Board of Trustees, the changes would take effect in the fall of 2013.
To be assured of admission to UW under the proposal, Wyoming high school graduates would be required to take four years of English, math and science, three years of social studies and two years of the same foreign language, with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and an ACT score of 21 or higher. Those are the same requirements for the second tier of the Hathaway Scholarship Program. The current standard for assured admission at UW requires only three years of math and science in high school - the minimum needed to graduate from high school.
"We want to communicate to Wyoming families the courses that their students should take in high school so that they will succeed in college," Frost says. "Our data show that high school students who've taken a strong core curriculum, such as the Hathaway success curriculum, do well when they come to UW."
Under the proposal, Wyoming high school graduates could still be allowed to enroll at UW with a minimum high school GPA of 2.25 and an ACT score of 20, and without having completed the "success curriculum." But they would be admitted "with support," meaning they'd be required to participate in UW's Synergy program or other academic transition programs.
"All students who would be admitted under the current standards will continue to be admitted under the proposed standards," Frost says. "The change is that we will identify those students who will benefit from additional support and provide it to them. This should improve our retention and graduation rates."
Prospective UW students, parents, school officials and members of the public are encouraged to attend the town hall meetings to learn more about the university's proposal.
More information on the issue is available at http://www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/resources/index.html under "College readiness and completion."
To read frequently asked questions and answers about the proposed changes, click here.
To read a one-page summary of the college readiness initiative, click here.