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Newsletter Article November 08, 2023

New Resources Aim to Increase Understanding of CBE Program Designs

A new framework and accompanying research brief from American Institutes for Research and the Competency-Based Education Network aims to improve understanding of competency-based education (CBE) program design at colleges and universities in the U.S. These new resources also explore an intentional approach to CBE program design by practitioners, with goals of facilitating rigorous research on the efficacy of key design elements and supporting stronger program design that leads to positive learner outcomes.

Newsletter Article October 30, 2023

Introducing our New Deputy Director of Education Grantmaking, Dr. Janice Hicks

Ascendium is pleased to welcome Dr. Janice Hicks to our Education Philanthropy team as our new deputy director of education grantmaking. Janice will support grantmaking across portfolios focused on strategies to transform postsecondary education institutions and systems to better serve learners from low-income backgrounds.

Newsletter October 19, 2023

Keith Witham Reflects on the Past Six Months, Ascendium Discusses the State of Postsecondary Education in Prison, and More

  • Keith Witham Reflects on His First Six Months as Vice President of Education Philanthropy
  • Ascendium’s Molly Lasagna and Others Discuss the State of Postsecondary Education in Prison
  • Strategic Media Partnerships Amplify Solutions to Rural Learners’ Challenges
Newsletter Article October 13, 2023

Aligning Postsecondary Education Programs and Workforce Demands to Help Learners Access Good Jobs

Research from the Urban Institute has led to the development of a framework and dedicated resources that explore how the alignment of training and credential programs with good jobs improves outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds. These resources specifically outline approaches for learners in short-term career and technical education programs.

Newsletter Article October 05, 2023

Strategic Media Partnerships Amplify Solutions to Rural Learners’ Challenges

Three recent Ascendium grants support media organizations whose work makes a national impact in rural postsecondary education and workforce training systems. These organizations' reporting is critical to increase public understanding of issues affecting rural learners from low-income backgrounds, amplify rural learners’ voices, and share promising solutions through national media outlets and networks.

Newsletter Article September 27, 2023

Keith Witham Reflects on His First Six Months as Vice President of Education Philanthropy

Halfway through his first year as Vice President of Education Philanthropy, Keith Witham provides an overview of the past six months of Ascendium’s grantmaking. He also looks ahead, reaffirming Ascendium’s commitment to transforming the lives of learners from low-income backgrounds through postsecondary education and workforce training.

Newsletter September 21, 2023

Tackling Economic Inequity, Validation Grant Guidance Released, and Part 2 of Q&A with UIA’s Bridget Burns

  • How a Coalition of Nonprofit, Private Colleges Is Tackling Economic Inequity
  • Validation Grant Guidance Released for Partners Evaluating Effectiveness of Innovations and Reforms
  • Q&A: UIA’s Bridget Burns on Helping Struggling Students Get Back on Track (Part 2)
Newsletter Article September 12, 2023

Validation Grant Guidance Released for Partners Evaluating Effectiveness of Innovations and Reforms

Ascendium awards validation grants to support independent evaluations that help build the body of evidence about ideas that merit acceptance as standard practice. We recently released guidance designed to provide clarity to prospective grantees about the information we look for in applications for validation grants that center impact evaluations.

Newsletter Article September 11, 2023

How a Coalition of Nonprofit, Private Colleges Is Tackling Economic Inequity

Although the vast majority of learners pursue postsecondary education in hopes of landing a good job, career advising is frequently limited and opportunities such as internships are often out of reach for learners from low-income backgrounds – many of whom work while attending college and can't afford to take on unpaid work. The Yes We Must Coalition hopes to solve this by helping member institutions employ strategies for career preparedness that have proved successful at community colleges.

Newsletter Article August 31, 2023

Q&A: UIA’s Bridget Burns on Helping Struggling Students Get Back on Track (Part 2)

Students who receive a D or F or withdraw (DFW) from a course often stall out and can risk losing future financial aid. The COVID-19 health crisis exacerbated DFW rates, especially among learners from low-income backgrounds. In part two of our interview, University Innovation Alliance (UIA) founding CEO Dr. Bridget Burns discusses what UIA institutions have learned from efforts to help students recover credits and regain momentum towards completion, as well as what other lessons they learned from the health crisis.

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