University of Cincinnati tapped to participate in national research program to boost student outcomes and completion rates

The University of Cincinnati has been selected by the Ohio Department of Education to join the Complete College Accelerator (CAA), an ambitious nationwide initiative to improve student success and close gaps in college access and completion. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Intermediaries for Scale (IFS) initiative, CCA will work with UC and other state agencies and universities over the next four years to implement research-based practices designed to dramatically increase college completion for students from underserved communities.

“It is an honor for the University of Cincinnati to be selected to partner with other agencies and academic institutions on a national level to accelerate student success,” says Valerio Ferme, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This initiative dovetails into UC’s strategic priorities to close gaps and improve access and support resources for all students in order to improve retention and graduation outcomes as part of our Next Lives Here strategic direction.”

It is an honor for the University of Cincinnati to be selected to partner with other agencies and academic institutions on a national level to accelerate student success.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Valerio Ferme, PhD

Photographed University Cincinnati students, faculty for marketing promos for CAHS Thursday March 30, 2023 at College of Allied Health Sciences. Photo by Joseph Fuqua II

The IFS initiative is a learning project. The goal is to accelerate learning about strategies for  improving student success and supporting institutional transformation.

Participants like UC will share practices, perspectives, challenges and outcomes data, collectively. Sharing insights and data with other participating stakeholders is critical to fulfilling the goal of leading the field in understanding and encouraging transformation. 

“There are troubling gaps in access, completion and career outcomes that continue to persist for students from underserved communities,” said Yolanda Watson Spiva, PhD, president of CCA. “As institutions and economies continue to shift following the pandemic, taking action now is critical to long-term success. Through the Complete College Accelerator, these eleven states and more than eighty participating institutions will build their capacity to scale, implement and sustain evidence-based practices that improve college completion rates for all students.”  

Nationally, about 90% of students from under-resourced families do not graduate within six years, let alone four. According to NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success, 56% of first-generation college students had not attained a postsecondary credential after six years. Research from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that 6-year graduation rates for Black and Latinx students stand at 51.5%, lower than graduation rates for White students. 

This fall, UC welcomed its largest student body in the school’s history at nearly 51,000 strong.  Here’s a snapshot of the student body:

  • 22% increase in Black students in the incoming class
  • 27% increase in Latinx students in the incoming class
  • 19% increase in Asian students in the incoming class
  • 9,100 first-generation students — an 18% increase.  First-gen students represent the first member of their families to attend a four-year institution of higher learning.
  • Students of Color now make up more than 26% of total student body
students sitting in classroom

UC was selected to participate in the national program following a competitive RFP process. Participating states were selected from members of the Complete College America Alliance — which includes senior leadership from states, systems, institutional consortia and partner organization — and, in turn, selected the participating institutions. 

UC leaders selected to lead this initiative in partnership with UC Provost Valerio Ferme are:

  • Michelle Clare, vice provost for continuing education; dean, College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies
  • Chris Lewis, vice provost for academic affairs
  • Keisha Love, vice provost for faculty advancement and undergraduate affairs
  • Susana Luzuriaga, assistant vice provost for institutional research
  • Nicole Mayo, interim vice president for student affairs
  • Bryan Smith, assistant vice provost for faculty advancement
  • Tara Warden, assistant vice provost for enrollment management, advising and academic services

Featured image at top/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

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