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Published November 12, 2018
The University of Wyoming is participating in a new national effort in which 130 public universities and systems will work together to increase college access, close the achievement gap and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.
The participating institutions will work within “clusters” of four to 12 institutions as they concurrently implement innovative and effective practices to advance student success on their campuses. Collectively, the institutions enroll 3 million students, including 1 million students who receive Pell Grants.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is organizing the collaborative effort, known as “Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success.”
“Powered by Publics” represents the largest-ever collaborative effort to improve college access, advance equity and increase college degrees awarded. In addition to committing to those goals, participating institutions have pledged to share aggregate data demonstrating their progress to help spur lasting change across the higher education sector.
“The objectives of this effort fit perfectly with those of UW’s strategic plan, ‘Breaking Through: 2017-2022,’ regarding our enrollment, student success, work with community colleges and our state’s educational attainment goals,” says UW Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Anne Alexander. “As Wyoming’s land-grant and flagship university, we’re proud to be part of this collaboration.”
UW is part of a cluster that includes Colorado State University, Montana State University, New Mexico State University, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University, South Dakota State University, the University of Idaho, the University of Nevada-Reno and Utah State University.
“Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a real and growing enthusiasm among public university leaders to advance college completion nationally,” APLU President Peter McPherson says. “We have to seize the moment and mobilize institutions to improve not just college access, but also equity in student outcomes and the number of students who earn degrees. That’s what ‘Powered by Publics’ is all about and why we’re thrilled to work with our member institutions toward such an important national goal.”
By design, the participating institutions reflect a wide array of institutional characteristics such as enrollment, student demographics, regional workforce needs and selectivity. The broad diversity of the institutions is intended to help create a playbook of adaptable student success reforms that can be adopted across a variety of institution types, including those with limited resources.
The clusters have identified anticipated focus areas for their work. One cluster, for example, expects to work collaboratively to integrate data collection systems across each of its campuses to better monitor student progress and make data-informed decisions. Another cluster expects to tackle financial aid and student financial literacy, while a separate cluster will work to integrate career advising early into a student’s academic journey to both speed students’ path to degrees and better prepare them for the workforce.
The effort will be overseen by APLU’s Center for Public University Transformation, which the association created this year to help drive transformational change across the public higher education sector. A core value of the center and its participating institutions is rooted in a commitment to sharing data and innovative, successful practices to help drive progress across the entire sector of public higher education. The center will regularly disseminate lessons learned from the participating institutions to the broader public higher education community.
APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.