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Colleges team up to help underrepresented groups

UNK, CCC to offer program
CCC and UNK will work together to help student's transfer.
CCC and UNK will work together to help student's transfer.(CCC)
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 10:49 AM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Central Community College and the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) have joined forces in a national initiative designed to boost college completion for underrepresented students.

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) will lead an Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI) with the aim of increasing transfer rates for black, Hispanic, adult, and first-generation learners. Partnering with AACC in the endeavor is American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The two-year ETI was awarded to partnerships between community and four-year colleges to advance transfer pathways and align them to increase completion for underrepresented student populations.

“CCC is thankful for partnerships like those with UNK to provide enhanced opportunities for all students to meet workforce challenges in central Nebraska,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall. “I am confident the expertise from our national associations will further allow us to develop best practices to help more students succeed in their educational goals.”

The goal of the ETI is serve 6,000 students nationally from the identified underrepresented groups over the two-year project period. Each team will place at least 100 students on one of five identified transfer pathways by the end of the first year and 300 or more total by the end of the second year.

“As an institution with approximately forty percent of our students being first-generation, UNK is at the forefront of the efforts in the region to provide higher education options to underrepresented groups,” said UNK Chancellor Douglas A. Kristensen. “UNK stands ready to provide a supportive system that helps these students understand each step in their college career as well as how their career goals can fit into high-paying and high-demand jobs in central Nebraska.”

Sixteen partnerships form 13 states representing 17 community colleges and 19 universities were selected to participate.

“Providing Nebraskans with the opportunity to earn their first 60 credits at Central Community College and second 60 credits at UNK will be a win-win for our community and employers,” said Dr. Candace Walton, vice president for innovation and instruction. “Our partnership is already working transfer opportunities in criminal justice and human services. Central Nebraskans will reap the benefits.”

The participating institutions will receive transfer coaching support to advance work plans that include:

  • An assessment of the current relationship between two-year and four-year institutions to identify obstacles and develop response strategies that lead to a strong transfer relationship.
  • A review of current and/or new transfer pathways through an equity lens, specifically identifying evidence-based or new innovated equity strategies that allow students to transfer without losing credit and time to degree.

Through its College Park location in Grand Island, UNK is working with Grand Island-area businesses and high schools, Central Community College, and community organizations to provide academic advising, undergraduate and graduate courses, certificate programs, workshops and seminars for transfers and underrepresented students.

“This initiative provides additional options for students to expand their educational opportunities and directly contribute to the workforce,” said Dr. Matt Bice, associate dean of graduate studies. “The initiative is driven by the collaborative spirit of central Nebraskans, and UNK is committed to working with diverse stakeholders to develop future opportunities for our neighboring communities.”

More information can be found on the American Association of Communities Colleges website.

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