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Edinboro University selected for ACE Change and Innovation Lab


WASHINGTON, D.C.The American Council on Education (ACE) has chosen Edinboro University to participate in a groundbreaking initiative designed to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students who attain college degrees.

Edinboro is one of nine institutions that will work during the 18-month Change and Innovation Lab (CIL) project to implement concrete steps on their campuses and identify how some of these practices can be applied at colleges and universities across the country. The project is being supported by a $400,000 grant from Lumina Foundation.

“We were thrilled to be one of only nine colleges and universities in the country selected for this funded project,” said Edinboro President Julie E. Wollman. “We wrote a proposal that demonstrated our commitment to the project’s goals — improving retention and graduation for low-income, first-generation, and non-traditional students.”

Also participating in the Change and Innovation Lab are Brandman University in California; Cambridge College, Massachusetts; Georgia Gwinnett College; Graceland University, Missouri; Hiram College, Ohio; Lehman College, New York; Mercy College, New York; and Winthrop University, South Carolina.

“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.

ACE convened the initial meeting of the CIL in early April in Washington, D.C. The event was attended by campus teams that included each institution’s president or chancellor and chief academic officer. President Wollman; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Hannan; Vice President for Student Affairs Kahan Sablo; and Dr. Jean Jones, director of the Dr. Robert C. Weber Honors Program and local president of APSCUF, the faculty union, represented Edinboro.

“Our work at the CIL meeting was an intensive team process whereby we determined a key problem preventing us from greater degree attainment, what barriers were in the way, and what were multiple potential solutions,” President Wollman said. “It was wonderful to work across academics and student affairs and with our faculty union leader — we got so much done because our team included the key constituents to make a difference when we got back to campus.”

The criteria for selecting CIL institutions were 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.

“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.”