AAC&U Selects Schools to Commit to Equity Education Initiative

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announces an initiative to improve success among underserved student populations, particularly first-generation, low-income, and minority students, as well as adult learners.

The initiative — called “Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: Campus-Based Strategies for Student Success” — is part of USA Funds’ Completion with a Purpose project, and the organization is funding the work with a nearly $500,000 grant. Twelve colleges and universities were selected to partner with the AAC&U and USA Funds on the initiative.

AAC&U will “develop baseline evidence about existing campus efforts to track, improve, and close gaps in the achievement of key learning outcomes for all students,” according to a press release from the organization. Together with USA Funds’ work to facilitate pathways from college to the workforce, the project will build frameworks for colleges and universities to create action plans.

Over two years, the 12 institutions involved will develop, implement, and assess measurable campus action plans that work to improve student learning and success based upon AAC&U’s baseline evidence and equity framework. Specifically, campuses are being charged with developing guided learning pathways and ways to increase intentionality in learning.

“The deep educational divides that reflect and perpetuate inequality in our society will take concerted, systemic, transforming action to overcome,” AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider said in a statement. “This project alone won’t complete this transformation, but the work of these institutions can provide models and catalyze significant change throughout higher education to make excellence inclusive.”

The project’s goal is to create lasting campus strategies that will lead to higher college completion rates and students who are better prepared for the workplace.

“If our nation is to continue to prosper, men and women of all income levels and colors need enhanced levels of education,” Lorenzo Esters, senior program director at USA Funds, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the college completion and achievement gaps between the haves and have-nots have been growing, not shrinking. … We congratulate the institutions selected to pursue strategies for increasing access to quality programs and college completion rates for low-income, minority, and first-generation students, as well as for adult learners.”

The 12 colleges and universities selected to participate are:

  • Anne Arundel Community College
  • California State University, Northridge
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Dominican University
  • Florida International University
  • Governor’s State University
  • Lansing Community College
  • Morgan State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Pomona College
  • Wilbur Wright College