National Initiative Focused on Increasing First-generation and Nontraditional Student Attainment Rates
WASHINGTON, DC (April 11, 2014)—Graceland University has been selected by the American Council on Education (ACE) to participate in the Change and Innovation Lab (CIL), a groundbreaking initiative to help colleges and universities implement significant and sustainable efforts to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students who gain a college degree.
Graceland is one of nine institutions that will work during the 18-month CIL project to implement concrete steps on their campuses, and identify how some of these practices can be applied broadly at colleges and universities across the country. The project is being generously supported by a $400,000 grant from Lumina Foundation.
“The support ACE is providing our institution through this program will help us become more student-centered and strategic as we focus on the future.” - President John Sellars.
“The institutions that are participating in the Change and Innovation Lab are engaged in meaningful exploration of initiatives, aimed at mobilizing higher education to increase student success and attainment nationwide,” said ACE President, Molly Corbett Broad. “We are grateful to Lumina Foundation for its support of this project, as well as for its continuing focus on improving postsecondary attainment.”
ACE convened the initial meeting of the CIL earlier this month in Washington DC. The meeting was attended by campus teams that included each institution’s president or chancellor and chief academic officers, including Graceland University President, John Sellars; Vice President for Academic Affairs, Tammy Everett; future Vice President for Student Life, David Schaal; and Director of Institutional Research, Debbie Kepple-Mamros. The criteria for selecting CIL institutions was designed to encourage high-access institutions to participate, including colleges and universities that enroll large numbers of Pell Grant recipients, have a history of serving or the capacity to serve post-traditional learners, and are interested in using technology and data to improve attainment rates.
Also participating in the Change and Innovation Lab are: Brandman University (CA), Cambridge College (MA), Edinboro University (PA), Georgia Gwinnett College, Hiram College (OH), Lehman College (NY), Mercy College (NY) and Winthrop University (SC).
“Campus leaders engaged in the Change and Innovation Lab are both systematically planning their own transformation efforts, with a focus on change leadership, faculty engagement and the smart use of data, and helping us to develop templates and promising practices that can be applied more broadly,” said Cathy A. Sandeen, ACE’s vice president for education attainment and innovation. “The work being undertaken here is an important step in achieving the type of transformational change that is needed to reach ambitious national attainment goals.”
“We are very pleased that ACE’s Change and Innovation Lab for higher education leadership teams is underway, and look forward to seeing the results,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “We hope CIL can help provide the set of skills and tools leaders need today to close attainment gaps, and we are particularly hopeful that training leadership teams can more fully engage a campus in pursuit of those goals.”
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.
About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action. For more information, log onto www.luminafoundation.org.