DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Mercy College and eight other colleges and universities gathered at American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., to brainstorm initiatives to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students who gain a college degree.
The initiative is part of the Change and Innovation Lab, in which participants are expected to identify innovative practices to boost student retention that can be applied broadly at colleges and universities across the country and steps that can be taken on their individual campuses.
“Mercy College is committed to its first-generation and nontraditional students," said Mercy College interim President Dr. Concetta M. Stewart. "As a college our mission is to help people transform their lives through higher education -- and this initiative goes to the heart of our mission.”
The criteria for selecting CIL institutions were designed to encourage high-access institutions to participate, including colleges and universities that enroll large numbers of Pell Grant recipients, have a history of serving post-traditional learners and are interested in using technology and data to improve attainment rates.
“The institutions that are participating in the Change and Innovation Lab are engaged in meaningful exploration of initiatives aimed at mobilizing higher education to increase student success and attainment nationwide,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.
Also participating in the Change and Innovation Lab were: Brandman University (California); Cambridge College (Massachusetts); Edinboro University (Pennsylvania); Georgia Gwinnett College; Graceland University (Missouri); Hiram College (Ohio); Lehman College (New York); and Winthrop University (South Carolina).
The project is being supported by a $400,000 grant from Lumina Foundation.
"We hope CIL can help provide the set of skills and tools leaders need today to close attainment gaps, and we are particularly hopeful that training leadership teams can more fully engage a campus in pursuit of those goals,” said Lumina Foundation President and CEO Jamie Merisotis.