The University of New Orleans is one of 130 public universities and university systems around the country participating in an innovative new effort to increase college access, close the achievement gap and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.
The participating institutions will work within “transformation clusters” of four to 12 schools as they implement practices to advance student success on their campuses.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), which is organizing the collaborative effort, known as Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, announced the initiative at is 131st annual meeting this week in New Orleans. Collectively, the 130 institutions enroll three million students, including one million students who receive Pell Grants.
The University of New Orleans will participate in the initiative’s urban cluster, which will include institutions such as Cleveland State University, Florida International University, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Memphis.
"I am so pleased to be a key part of this groundbreaking and potentially game-changing effort,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “We know that a college education is a gateway to an improved quality of life for our students and stimulates prosperity in our communities. This effort capitalizes on the collective knowledge of multiple campuses to support greater college access, equity, and student success outcomes. The beneficiaries are our city, state, and the people we work so diligently to serve.”
According to APLU, Powered by Publics represents the largest-ever collaborative effort to improve college access, advance equity, and increase college degrees awarded. In addition to committing to those goals, participating institutions have pledged to share aggregate data demonstrating their progress to help spur lasting change across the higher education sector.
“Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a real and growing enthusiasm among public university leaders to advance college completion nationally,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “We have to seize the moment and mobilize institutions to improve not just college access, but also equity in student outcomes and the number of students who earn degrees. That’s what Powered by Publics is all about and why we’re thrilled to work with our member institutions toward such an important national goal.”
By design, the institutions in the effort reflect a wide array of institutional characteristics such as enrollment, student demographics, regional workforce needs and selectivity. The broad diversity of the institutions is intended to help create a playbook of adaptable student success reforms that can be adopted and scaled up across a variety of institution types—including those with limited resources.
The effort will be overseen by APLU’s Center for Public University Transformation, which the association created this year to help drive transformational change across the public higher education sector. A core value of the center and its participating institutions will be rooted in a commitment to sharing data and innovative, successful practices to help drive progress across the entire sector of public higher education.
The center will regularly disseminate lessons learned from the participating institutions to the broader public higher education community.