Reflecting on the year, I’m always struck with a profound sense of gratitude for our partners, who inform our perspectives and bring our collective strategy to life. These partners take many shapes, ranging from large non-profits like the Intermediaries for Scale to institutions like those in the Frontier Set, to individuals like my rockstar personal advisors Carrie Billy, Yolanda Watson Spiva, Michael Collins, Deborah Santiago, Amelia Parnell, and Nikki Edgecombe.
Two years into the pandemic, we are all still searching for new ways of doing things, so I’d like to show some gratitude to a few partners who did just that with us in 2021. Working together, we:
- Set new goals related to equitable value, completing the work of the Value Commission in its charge to propose a definitionof postsecondary value, develop a way to measure that value, and urge actionto improve value and make it more equitable, as well as launching the Equitable Value Explorer—all this in partnership with the Institute for Higher Education Policy and ably and enthusiastically led by Dr. Millie García and Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellman.
- Added new approaches to long-standing evidence-based solutions. For example, the College Transition Collaborative works with California community colleges implementing developmental education reform to focus on a “growth mindset” culture within faculty and counselors. This represents a significant foray into institutional cultural reforms in support of scaling structural change.
- Took a new lens on some of our technology tools, working with Paritii for the first time on equity audits in our advising technology and digital learning portfolios. They also created a draft advising audit tool that is helping us push our strategic thinking about equity in this area.
- Applied new lenses to our assumptions and grant-making processes with Bensimon & Associates. Their team worked with us to revise our work to be more equity-centered, including developing a bench of equity coaches who are working with each of our partners to increase their racial equity capabilities and propel us collectively toward providing opportunity and excellence for all students, especially Black, Latino, Indigenous students and students from low-income backgrounds.
These are just a few of our partners for whom I am grateful. Higher education is going through tremendous change at the moment, and our partners represent new ways of thinking and investing; fighting the good fight to ensure long-term change movements are putting equity at the forefront in design and implementation.
I am also grateful for all of you, as we all push ahead for more innovation and equity in 2022. Happy holidays.
Accelerating Seamless Pathways to Degrees and CareersWhat if students in every high school had the opportunity to take an additional year of courses related to a career of their interest, earn enough college credits to finish an associate degree by year 13, and be well-prepared for a great job or further education toward a bachelor’s degree, all at no cost? This vision is possible, but unfortunately millions of students currently lack access to quality career-connected learning opportunities and supports. That’s why the foundation’s Educational Pathways team is requesting proposals to get closer to achieving this vision.
Journalists Discuss College ValueWhat makes a college “good?” Providing stellar educations and career opportunities to a select few? Or creating lots of opportunities for all kinds of people, and helping disadvantaged students get into careers that can sustain families? In this recording, several education journalists discuss how to use the new Equitable Value Explorer, walk through the tool with support from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, and discuss ways to make the data tangible and support fresh stories about the colleges they cover.