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04/14/2014

Winthrop Selected for ACE Change and Innovation Lab

Quick Facts

 Winthrop is one of nine institutions that will work during the 18-month 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 Change and Innovation Lab (CIL), a groundbreaking initiative to help colleges and universities implement significant and sustainable initiatives to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students who gain a college degree.

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President Comstock
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Winthrop 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 initiatives to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students who gain a college degree.

Winthrop 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.

According to President Jamie Comstock, Winthrop’s initiative will be entitled RISE: Realizing Investments in Student Engagement. “The RISE Program will focus on all first-generation undergraduate freshmen and transfer students, regardless of their age, to provide intensive academic counseling and career mentoring, as well as alternative programming that will allow these students to engage in high-impact practices that enhance their prospects for degree attainment and post-degree work or education.”

Provost and Vice President Debra Boyd added: “By improving access to opportunities that have a high impact on learning and can accommodate the needs of students who are employed, have economic constraints, or are responsible for dependent care, Winthrop can positively impact degree attainment of first-generation, Pell-eligible and post-traditional students.”

“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, attended by campus teams that included each institution’s president or chancellor and chief academic officer. 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; Graceland University (MO); Hiram College (OH); Lehman College (NY); and Mercy College (NY).

“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.”

For more information, please contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or email longshawj@winthrop.edu

About Winthrop University
A top-ranked regional public comprehensive institution serving more than 6,000 students, Winthrop is redefining public higher education by prioritizing both quality and access in a single institution. The university blends liberal arts, professional programs, global understanding, and civic engagement in a dynamic and diverse community of learners. No matter what students study at Winthrop, they are ready for successful careers, engaged in a democratic society, responsive to local and global concerns, and grounded in values that give meaning to their lives.

About ACE

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 to 60 percent by 2025. 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 to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.

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