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Yielding the partnership pipeline

May 5, 2021


Yielding the partnership pipeline

By EAB Expert May 5, 2021 0 minutes Image-Rising-HigherEd-white-logo-w-Teal Rénard Harris

Rénard Harris

EAB Rising Higher Education Leaders Fellow, currently serving as the Chief Diversity Officer at the College of Charleston, who completed a capstone project on initiating a professional development event to launch an access program.

Is a professional development initiative based on cultural pedagogy and College-Going Mindset a viable option to launch an effective URM student pipeline program for the College of Charleston?

Many underrepresented minority students are inadequately prepared for higher education by high school graduation. This preparedness gap, which is greatly influenced by social inequities and other barriers, creates a pipeline problem for selective colleges and universities to increase underrepresented minority (URM) student enrollment. Due to this pipeline problem there is a shortage of qualified URM candidates for selective institutions.

As the Chief Diversity Officer at the College of Charleston, assisting with increasing diversity is as important as educating the less familiar and empowering marginalized identities. My background as an Associate Professor of Teacher Education inspired me to incubate an idea that engaged the local school district’s Title I schools.

I used the EAB data as a collective source to synthesize an initiative. I am a fan of synthesizing data to action. A theme in the data was that higher education institutions and access programs are greatly focused on increasing both the preparedness as well as the college going mindset. But, due to the degree and influence of the social inequities the shortage of qualified candidates continues to persist.

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My capstone landed on creating a professional development event with the local school district with a focus on Title I schools, specifically 8th grade. The idea is based a forming a partnership: Colleagues in the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance will provide professional development to 8th grade teachers around culturally relevant pedagogy, and college students will provide 8th grade students mentorship and facilitation as they prepare an assignment that each student will present at the college. In return, the local school district will give the college access to students and parents to begin a college going mindset relationship beginning with providing information such as necessary required coursework to take in High School, and sharing available dates for college visits.  Ultimately the event is a Kick-Off for the Access Program Partnership.

I reviewed three parts of the EAB research series about how to identify, engage, and recruit students from underrepresented populations: Charting the Diversity Landscape, Evolving College Access Programs and Supporting Parents of First-Generation Students. This data was extremely useful, and I enjoyed the opportunity to explore the data and create a plan.

I was paired with Jonathon Russell from Central Michigan University. His Capstone title is Equity in Retention: Addressing the First to Second Year Persistence Gap Between White and Minority Students. We took advantage of the Buddy pairing by scheduling monthly meetings which gave us opportunity to check-in and stay up to date with our respective capstone, share ideas, and discuss higher education on a broad scale.

See the fellows’ blogs from the capstone projects

Amy Capolupo and others participated in the Spring 2021 EAB’s Rising Higher Education Leaders Fellowship

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