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Reports

Emergency Aid for Higher Education: A Toolkit and Resource Guide for Decision-Makers

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Ascendium Education Group (formerly known as Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) has invested heavily to advance postsecondary success for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation students. Since 2012, Ascendium has awarded over $10.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 63 two- and four-year institutions. Through Dash, colleges administer emergency aid (EA) grants to meet students’ unanticipated expenses so that more of these students stay on track for completion. These small grants, often $500 or less, can make the difference in whether a student is able to remain in school.

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Ascendium contracted with Equal Measure in late 2017 to create a set of tools to help the field codify the process of awarding emergency aid. Emergency Aid for Higher Education: A Toolkit and Resource for Decision-Makers is the result of more than 10 months of research, interviews, focus groups, and webinars with Dash Emergency Grant recipients that elucidated current best practices, and gaps, in administering EA programs.

 

Weaving Successful Partnerships: When Funders, Evaluators, and Intermediaries Work Together

Irvine brief full coverFunders who have ambitious goals to change large systems often create partnerships with intermediaries and evaluators to help realize their visions. But what does it take to effectively weave these partners together and position them for shared success?

The aim of this report, commissioned by The James Irvine Foundation and collaboratively developed by Equal MeasureEngage R+D, and Harder+Company Community Research is to contribute to field dialogue and learning about how to structure complex systems change strategies involving multiple partners. Informed by a literature review on partnership structures, trust building, and developing a learning culture – and case studies of three different partnerships involving this triad – this report is designed to inform stakeholders in complex change strategies involving multiple partners, funders, intermediaries, and evaluators.

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Toward Equity in Guided Pathways Reforms: Lessons from California’s Career Advancement Academies

CAA coverCommunity colleges across California are now investigating and planning Guided Pathways reforms with the goals of improving equity on their campuses and increasing the number of students completing degrees, certificates, and transfers. Some especially helpful lessons for improving equity as part of this reform effort may come from more than 30 California colleges that implemented Career Advancement Academies (CAAs).

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This report covers the most recent iteration of our work with the Career Ladders Project as part of our engagement on the CAA initiative – stretching back to 2012. Section One of this brief describes the context for current reforms and provides background on CAAs and their goals. Section Two addresses how CAAs served traditionally underrepresented students and improved equity, and Section Three explores how community colleges can scale promising CAA approaches by integrating them into their current Guided Pathways reforms.

STEM Active Learning Vignette Series: The Undergraduate VIP Program at Virginia Commonwealth University

undergraduate VIP programSince beginning active grantmaking in 2008, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (the Trust) has committed more than $1.5 billion to nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the United States and around the world. Although no longer a focus for the Trust, from 2008- 2016 the Trust’s postsecondary education grantmaking focused on increasing the number of college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields—particularly female students and students of color.

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The Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking portfolio supported networks of higher education institutions committed to improving instructional practices, primarily for gateway STEM courses, and creating incentives to adopt model policies, practices, and systems that can help improve student retention and completion. Each network adopted one or more active learning strategies, evidence-based teaching and learning approaches that can improve students’ performance in STEM. While the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s investment has concluded, most of the networks continue to move forward with implementing these strategies.

As the STEM Active Learning Networks evaluation and learning partner, Equal Measure is tracking the impact of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking on faculty, departmental, and institutional change across networks. Since 2014, Equal Measure has examined the conditions that support progress at the institution, department, and classroom levels toward network goals. Using qualitative methods, we have documented the results of network efforts, including emerging outcomes at the institution, department, and educator levels. In 2017, Equal Measure visited five campuses representing four of the initial seven networks to delve into site-level implementation. In this vignette, we showcase Virginia Commonwealth University’s undergraduate VIP program, which focuses on student persistence in STEM majors though the incorporation of active leaning techniques. 

STEM Active Learning Vignette Series: How Wright State and the University of Dayton are Transforming Teaching and Learning for Underrepresented Students

UD_WSU Vignette_Cover ImageSince beginning active grantmaking in 2008, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has committed more than $1.5 billion dollars to nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the United States and around the world. Although no longer a focus for the Trust, from 2008-2016 the Trust’s postsecondary education grantmaking focused on increasing the number of college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields — particularly female students and students of color.

Download this Vignette

The Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking portfolio supported networks of higher education institutions committed to improving instructional practices, primarily for gateway STEM courses, and creating incentives to adopt model policies, practices, and systems that can help improve student retention and completion. Each network adopted one or more “active learning strategies,” evidence-based teaching and learning approaches that can improve students’ performance in STEM. While the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s investment has concluded, most of the networks continue to move forward with implementing these strategies.

As the STEM Active Learning Networks evaluation and learning partner, Equal Measure is tracking the impact of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking on faculty, departmental, and institutional change across networks. Since 2014, Equal Measure has used qualitative research methods to examine the results of network efforts as well as conditions that support progress at the educator, department, and institution levels. In 2017, Equal Measure visited five campuses representing four of the initial seven networks to delve into site-level implementation. In this vignette, we share lessons about how these two exemplary TIDES partners are pursuing their shared goal of transforming teaching and learning, while creating more access to STEM fields for underrepresented students. A key feature of the success of the schools’ models is the trust that exists between the TIDES teams, their departmental peers, and their on-campus leadership (such as provosts and deans).

STEM Active Learning Vignette Series: Leveraging Evidence-based Practice, Community, and Systems of Support at California State University, Fresno

Fresno_updated coverSince beginning active grantmaking in 2008, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has committed more than $1.5 billion dollars to nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the United States and around the world. Although no longer a focus for the Trust, from 2008-2016 the Trust’s postsecondary education grantmaking focused on increasing the number of college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields — particularly female students and students of color.

Download this vignette

The Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking portfolio supported networks of higher education institutions committed to improving instructional practices, primarily for gateway STEM courses, and creating incentives to adopt model policies, practices, and systems that can help improve student retention and completion. Each network adopted one or more “active learning strategies,” evidence-based teaching and learning approaches that can improve students’ performance in STEM. While the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s investment has concluded, most of the networks continue to move forward with implementing these strategies.

As the STEM Active Learning Networks evaluation and learning partner, Equal Measure is tracking the impact of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking on faculty, departmental, and institutional change across networks. Since 2014, Equal Measure has used qualitative research methods to examine the results of network efforts as well as conditions that support progress at the educator, department, and institution levels. In 2017, Equal Measure visited five campuses representing four of the initial seven networks to delve into site-level implementation. In this vignette, we highlight the work of Fresno State, which designed the Building Opportunities with Networks of Discovery (BOND) program. The BOND program aims to increase students’ sense of self efficacy, sense of belonging, as well as their critical thinking and quantitative learning in order to increase student retention rates, graduation rates, and minimize the achievement gap of College of Science and Mathematics students.

STEM Active Learning Vignette Series: Weaving More Effective Teaching and Learning Practices in Mathematics and Beyond

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Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has committed more than $1.5 billion dollars to nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the United States and around the world. Although no longer a focus for the Trust, from 2008-2016 the Trust’s postsecondary education grantmaking focused on increasing the number of college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields — particularly female students and students of color.

Download this Vignette

The Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking portfolio supported networks of higher education institutions committed to improving instructional practices, primarily for gateway STEM courses, and creating incentives to adopt model policies, practices, and systems that can help improve student retention and completion. Each network adopted one or more “active learning strategies,” evidence-based teaching and learning approaches that can improve students’ performance in STEM. While the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s investment has concluded, most of the networks continue to move forward with implementing these strategies.

As the STEM Active Learning Networks evaluation and learning partner, Equal Measure is tracking the impact of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s postsecondary grantmaking on faculty, departmental, and institutional change across networks. Since 2014, Equal Measure has used qualitative research methods to examine the results of network efforts as well as conditions that support progress at the educator, department, and institution levels. In 2017, Equal Measure visited five campuses representing four of the initial seven networks to delve into site-level implementation. The first in a series, this vignette showcases the efforts of Pasadena Community College to develop and implement more effective pedagogies for mathematics and related STEM courses.

Supporting Resilience: Building Resilient Communities through Enhanced Student Supports

In 2012, seven community colleges in the Northeast region of the United States came together to discuss the acute need for resilience in their communities in the wake of several natural and man-made disasters, including the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and two hurricanes. These seven colleges formed the Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC), led by Passaic County Community College, to develop and implement programming and services that would help build resilience in students and communities, and generate a highly skilled workforce.

Included in this report, developed in partnership with DVP-PRAXIS LTD, is a summary of recent research in the area of support services and student success in community colleges, a description of the way in which NRC colleges deliver resiliency support services to participants, and best practices in NRC colleges’ approaches to resiliency support services.

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