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Future Success by Degrees

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 20, 2018) — The University at Albany is participating in a massive new 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.

UAlbany female degree recipient at her May 2018 Commencement

A new UAlbany degree recipient smiles at her May 2018 Commencement.

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 three million students, including one million students who receive Pell Grants.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), organized 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.

“Powered by Publics is deeply aligned with the University at Albany’s core priority of student success,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “Working together as a collaborative, we can learn from and leverage each other’s best practices to build on our past efforts to create strong, effective pathways for access and degree completion.”

President Rodríguez attended the APLU’s 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans and served on a panel with national senior leaders from public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems. He was joined by Provost James Stellar and Vice President for Student Affairs, Michael Christakis, who have been leading UAlbany’s efforts on retention and student success.

“Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a real and growing enthusiasm among public university leaders to advance college completion nationally,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “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 and scaled up across a variety of institution types, including those with limited resources.

Collaborative Work

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 their 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 is planning to work to integrate career advising early into a student’s academic journey to both speed students’ path to a degree and better prepare them for the workforce.

UAlbany is in working in the “metropolitan” cluster with institutions including Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Old Dominion University, Portland State University, The University of Texas at Arlington, University of Cincinnati, University of Houston, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Louisville, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of New Mexico, and Wichita State University.

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 will be 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.

A national advisory council of respected higher education thought leaders will provide a strategic vision and guidance for the Center, which will work to build upon and complement existing initiatives around institutional change and student success.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.