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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Cincinnati State, Gateway, Miami, and NKU announce partnership to close equity gaps

Gateway President Dr. Fernando Figueroa, NKU President Dr. Ashish Vaidya, Cincinnati State President Dr. Monica Posey, Miami University President Dr. Gregory Crawford.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Gateway Community and Technical College, Miami University, and Northern Kentucky University announced today that they have joined “Moon Shot for Equity,” a national initiative that aims to close equity gaps within regional cohorts of two- and four-year colleges and universities by 2030. 

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Following a program designed and run by education firm EAB, the schools will take significant and measurable steps to work together to help more students from historically underserved populations graduate from college. 
 
Through this innovative partnership, each school has committed to implementing more than a dozen research-based best practices proven to remove systemic barriers to student success. These commitments range from updating academic policies, to working together to establish common academic pathways, to providing equity-mindedness training to university leaders.
 
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“Eliminating equity gaps in education is one of the most important things we can accomplish in our region, state, and country,” said Miami University President Dr. Gregory Crawford. “Miami University is honored to partner with other higher education institutions to make a commitment to providing equity-minded educational experiences, advancing student success, and serving as a model for other colleges and universities around the globe.” 
 
Data show that barely half of all Black and Latinx students who enter college earn their undergraduate degree within six years compared with nearly 70 percent of White students. First-generation students and those from families with lower incomes also graduate college at significantly lower rates than students from more privileged backgrounds, regardless of race.

“Higher Education Institutions that welcome and graduate large numbers of first-generation, low-income students are engines of economic and social mobility,” NKU President Dr. Ashish Vaidya said. “Our institutions are working together to keep the American dream of opportunity alive. We have to continue focusing on all these subpopulations so that their graduation rates continue to rise in preparation for a lifetime of achievement.”

EAB provides participating schools with research, technology, and advisory services. In addition, all schools receive guidance from well-known student success leaders at Georgia State University and Houston GPS. 
 
“Our schools have been working independently to improve completion rates and reduce equity gap issues for some time,” said Dr. Fernando Figueroa, Gateway president. “The Moon Shot initiative enhances these efforts and provides powerful tools and a proven set of strategies that enable our colleges to build a strong collaborative system so that we can accomplish far more together than we ever could working alone.”
 
Finally, participating institutions are encouraged to partner with local high schools and community-based organizations to help more underserved students attend college by providing them with resources and information on how to identify best-fit universities, search for scholarships, and connect with counselors. These resources are offered through EAB’s College Greenlight.
 
"Cincinnati State looks forward to leveraging our long-held mission of equity with our partners in this project," said Dr. Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State. "Expanding opportunities for all students is crucial to the future of our region, state and workforce."

The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region is the second consortium selected by EAB to join the Moon Shot initiative. EAB launched the Moon Shot for Equity last October in cooperation with an inaugural consortium of colleges and universities in Southeastern Wisconsin. A third Moon Shot region was also announced today in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“For too long, higher education has made the educational journey more arduous than it has to be for underserved student populations,” said EAB Vice President of Partnerships Tom Sugar. “All of the schools that have joined the Moon Shot for Equity have made good strides already in removing unnecessary obstacles and are committed to making additional institutional changes that will further streamline that journey.”
 
During the first 100 days of the effort, the schools will build the necessary support system and infrastructure to start the work successfully. That work spans three phases:

-Discover: Assess where each institution is across key areas of practice and organization, then set priorities for work based on urgency and readiness.

-Engage: Connect with campus leaders to educate them on the priorities and understand their perspective. Then form the necessary leadership teams and working groups, and begin to structure the plan of action.

- Execute: Set plans into motion.
 

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