Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 65

haul of the college's student-advising system and a minority mentorship program. In 2014, the White House praised MCCC's work to improve graduation and retention, and last year, Stout became president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, an initiative founded in 2004 to support community colleges around the country. Stout aims to build ATD into something analogous to the University Innovation Alliance (see Bridget Burns profile, below)-providing guidance, resources, and a forum for collaboration to drive large-scale innovation-but for a network of more than 200 colleges serving more than four million students. This fall, ATD will lead an effort at thirty-eight colKaren Stout leges, in thirteen states, to offer full degree programs using open education resources (OER)-free course materials instead of textbooks-which could save students thousands of dollars each. As important, in Stout's view, is that moving away from textbooks will prompt faculty to get more involved in thinking about how to most effectively design their courses. And they won't be going it alone. "In the past, any of the OER work on our campuses was typically done by one faculty member, one course at a time," Stout says. "That approach won't scale." Courtesy of Achieving the Dream; Courtesy of College Advising Corps; Courtesy of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education NICOLE HURD College Advising Corps The national average ratio of guidance counselors to public high school students is 1 to 471; in California, it's 1 to 1,000. Compounding the issue, counselors in modest and poor districts are evaluated based on whether their students finish high school, not whether they apply to and succeed in college. And, of course, wealthy districts have more advisers than poor ones, which means that the kids who could use the most help are getting the least. Hurd founded the College Advising Corps to address the problem. A national service organization, the CAC recruits recent college graduates and deploys them to high schools with high numbers of low-income students. Think Teach for Nicole Hurd America, but for counseling- and with some important differences. CAC advisers overwhelmingly resemble the students they help: 66 percent are underrepresented minorities, 62 percent were eligible for Pell Grants in college, and 54 percent were the first in their families to go to college. They're not taking anyone's job: they're on the payroll of the university they graduated from, with their salaries coming half from the university and half from a mix of philanthropic and public sources. The goal is to work with teachers, counselors, and principals to create a culture in which kids expect to go to college. Hurd recalls getting a call from a principal gushing about a CAC adviser. The adviser had found that many of her students refused to engage with the admissions process because they didn't know anyone who'd ever gone to college. So she convinced the school's teachers to put signs on their classroom doors showing not only their name, but also their alma mater- a small but meaningful way to make students realize that they were surrounded by people who had gone to college. The CAC can point to more concrete results, too. Over the past two years, college enrollment rates in its New York City partner schools have gone up by 35 percent. But Hurd knows the organization can't single-handedly solve the collegeadvising crisis. "That's not going to happen without public investment," she says. "Part of our goal is to execute with excellence and keep proving to everybody that this works." BRIDGET BURNS University Innovation Alliance As an American Council on Education fellow at Arizona State University in 2013-14, Bridget Burns traveled to more than fifty campuses around the country asking two questions: How are you innovating to improve student success? And what are nearby schools doing? "No one ever answered that second question with any level of specificity," Burns says. She realized that a major barrier to innovation in higher education is the fact that universities just don't share ideas. To fix that, she helped bring together eleven universities from around the country to found the University Innovation Alliance, in 2014, where she is now executive director. The member schools-all huge, public universities, including Georgia State and the University of Texas at Austin-have committed to collaborating on solutions to the obstacles facing low-income, first-generation, and miBridget Burns nority students. Each school has a UIA fellow and a student success team. The UIA holds "convenings" on different campuses throughout the year, where members share ideas and-unlike at academic conferences-spend time coming up with a plan to bring those ideas back to their campuses. Burns points to predictive analytics, like the Georgia State program described above, as an example of a good idea that the UIA is helping go viral. This coming academic year, member schools will launch an unprecedented randomized controlled trial, using 10,000 students, to measure the effectiveness of analyticsbased advising programs. In the past, Burns says, it may have Washington Monthly 65

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