Portland, Or., August 21, 2018
CollegeNET, Inc., a leading provider of web-based on-demand technologies for higher education and the developer of the Social Mobility Index (SMI), has presented its 2018 Social Mobility Innovator Awards to eight universities across the nation. Representatives who accepted the awards on their schools’ behalf included:
The 2018 Social Mobility Innovator Awards were presented in July at CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Summit, in Portland, Oregon. During the Summit, the 10 university representatives participated in a roundtable discussion on best practices for student success. They provided insights and described innovative approaches for expanding economic inclusiveness and social mobility through higher education.
Jaye Padgett of the University of California, Santa Cruz, for example, spoke about his school’s unique student success mission, which incorporates educational equity, institutional responsibility for meeting students where they are and a holistic approach that recognizes the “whole student.”
Christina Latouf of Baruch College discussed the school’s “start-to-finish” philosophy, which focuses on support and professional development programs along the entire path to graduation. Services include résumé writing, soft-skills training and mock interviews, mentoring from industry executives, networking, and on-campus access to business attire for students who cannot afford an outfit or have unexpected interviews.
Craig Richardson and Allonda Hawkins of Winston-Salem State University talked about their school’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM), which brings faculty and students together as they study barriers to economic mobility in surrounding, low-income communities.
Elizabeth Adams of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) outlined how her school works to help students feel a sense of belonging through timely and sensitive communication, and build trust-based mentoring relationships between faculty and students in order to increase retention and graduation rates.
Kim Sandlin of Wichita State University provided details about her school’s multi-year and institution-wide commitment to recruiting and retaining students from under-served and under-represented populations from Dallas-Fort Worth, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Kansas City located along the I-35 corridor.
John Gunkel of Rutgers University -- Newark explained that his school has increased the number of underserved students from Newark by stressing academic excellence, as well as engagement with civic, corporate and philanthropic institutions in the city and surrounding region. Rutgers-Newark also guarantees full-tuition scholarships to graduates of local high schools and New Jersey community colleges whose families earn less than $60,000 per year.
Sylvia Alva and Lea Jarnagin of Cal Poly Pomona offered a look at their school’s culture of caring and regard, which removes as many communications barriers as possible thus offering low-income students a campus community that provides support from admission through graduation.
Donald Dabdub of the University of California, Irvine emphasized the importance of a unique, personalized and scalable student support system that blends centralized support across campus with a wide range of decentralized support services at the department and school levels.
The Social Mobility Summit followed two regional events sponsored by CollegeNET that focused on student success and social mobility. These meetings took place at the University of California, Irvine and the University of California, Santa Cruz in February. Other CollegeNET-sponsored student success events are scheduled to take place at Wichita State University and the University of California, San Diego in late 2018 and 2019.
Challenging Obsolete Notions about University “Prestige”
CollegeNET also recently published an e-book on student success and social mobility in higher education. The e-book offers best practices from student success professionals who are pioneering innovative programs that support under-served and under-represented students’ academic, personal and financial needs. The e-book contributing writers challenge outmoded notions about university “prestige.” They affirm higher education’s role as the most important rung on the ladder of economic mobility while leading their campuses toward greater diversity and economic inclusion.
Economic Inclusion Helps Spark Innovative Minds
“The current economic trends limiting access to higher education have no place in a country that has historically touted economic opportunity, sought to broadly optimize its citizens’ potential and prepare them for participation in our democracy,” says Jim Wolfston, CEO of CollegeNET.
“When a college offers a challenging environment populated with diverse ideas, personal backgrounds and viewpoints,” adds Wolfston, “it prepares students to encounter, navigate and appreciate the unfamiliar. Given that innovation always depends upon a person’s ability to consider what could be different from their own assumptions and experiences, economic inclusion is thus not only a solution to a social justice issue, it is a key strategy for sparking innovative minds.”
Fifth Annual SMI Rankings will be Released this Fall
See the complete 2017 SMI rankings. (The fifth annual SMI rankings will be published during fall 2018.)
About CollegeNET, Inc.
CollegeNET, Inc. builds on-demand SaaS technologies that help institutions improve operational efficiency, enhance communication with constituents, and save money. The company's systems are used worldwide for event and academic scheduling, recruitment and admissions management, web-based tuition processing, instructor and course evaluation, web-based career services for students, cultural learning and college preparation, and electronic academic records delivery. CollegeNET also directly supports greater affordability and access to higher education through its CollegeNET.com student forum. Students cite and debate topics, vote for one another, and compete for scholarships. CollegeNET has awarded more than $2 million in college scholarships to date through this site. The company is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.