Connect2Complete Aims to Increase Oregon’s Community College Graduation Rates
Portland, Oregon (July 9, 2013)- Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) announces a new program, Connect2Complete, focused on improving graduation rates for Oregon community college students through community-engaged learning and service. Funding from the Oregon Commission on Voluntary Action & Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service will place 120 AmeriCorps members, who will each serve 300 hours of service, on eight community college campuses across Oregon.
Connect2Complete is a replication of a national Campus Compact program currently operating on nine community college campuses in Florida, Ohio, and Washington states and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Connect2Complete helps students in developmental education complete their required coursework more quickly, reach their educational goals, and ultimately, graduate with a certificate or degree.
Developmental education is for any student who has earned a GED or high school diploma but is assessed, through a standardized test, as not being ready for college level work. Nationally, only 17% of students who are assessed as needing at least one developmental education class will ever complete a certificate or degree.
This is important for Oregon because the state has set ambitious goals to improve graduation rates. Portland Community College, like other community colleges around the nation, has a high percentage of first-time-in-college credit students testing into developmental education. At Chemeketa Community College in Salem, school officials estimate close to two-thirds of the entire student population are assessed as needing at least one developmental education class.
ORCC, one of 34 state affiliates of national Campus Compact, represents 18 colleges and universities in Oregon committed to deepening the public purpose of higher education. Research has shown students who volunteer have higher GPAs, are more likely to graduate, and are more likely to stay engaged in their community after graduation. Connect2Complete will build community-engaged learning and service into developmental education classes, which will help bring coursework to life and engage students with different learning styles.
Additionally, the students serving as the 120 AmeriCorps members will be current community college students and will receive a $1,000 Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service that they can use to pay for tuition or qualified student loans.
Dr. Jessica Howard, President of Portland Community College Southeast Campus and new member of Oregon Campus Compact’s board said, “PCC is interested in the Connect2Compete opportunity and model. It appears to be a win-win-win for everyone involved. Students, both those in the classes and those serving as AmeriCorps members, stand to benefit; the community will benefit from the service of those students; and when graduation rates increase not only will the college benefit from increased revenue but the entire State will benefit from graduates with higher earning potential and a stronger inclination to be of service to their communities.”
Community colleges can learn more about Connect2Complete here. Proposals are due August 16th and grant awards will be announced August 30th.
ORCC’s Executive Director, Josh Todd said, “We are excited to partner with community colleges to improve the educational outcomes for some of the students with the most significant barriers to graduation. Oregon Campus Compact, through the program evaluation of Connect2Complete, is also committed to showing that community-engaged learning isn’t just the “right” thing to do but the “smart” thing to do. This pedagogy is a cost-effective way to improve the outcomes and impact of higher education in Oregon.”
For more information on Connect2Complete contact Josh Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-406-3575.
All decisions are contingent on final approval from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Commitment to Equity and Educational Success: Hallmarks of New Executive Director
Portland, Oregon (July 1, 2013)- Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) announces effective on July 1, 2013 that Josh Todd will serve as its sixth Executive Director since forming in 1996. Todd has served as Interim Executive Director since January 2013.
ORCC, one of 35 state affiliates of national Campus Compact, represents 18 colleges and universities in Oregon committed to deepening the public purpose of higher education. Nationally, over 1,200 college and university presidents are members of Campus Compact, serving close to 6 million students. Motivated by the belief that students have the power to change the world, ORCC drives higher education to increase student participation in civic life as a means to improve not only their educational outcomes but also the health of their communities.
Todd has served Multnomah County for over 11 years, most recently as the Director of the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families & Community, and before that, as the County’s Youth Development Coordinator where he was instrumental in building the effectiveness of the Multnomah Youth Commission. Todd served in AmeriCorps with the Bay Area Youth Agency Consortium from 1997-1998. Todd’s career has focused on building the capacity of systems and individuals to address pressing social problems from violence, overrepresentation in the foster care system, and high rates of hunger in Oregon.
As the only statewide organization working with private, public, four-year, and two-year institutions, I believe ORCC is well-positioned to help higher education attract, retain, and graduate more students, especially students of color and first generation students by expanding community-engaged learning experiences on every member campus,“ said Todd.
ORCC Board Chair and President of Concordia University, Dr. Charles Schlimpert said of the board’s decision,
Mr. Todd came to Oregon Campus Compact at just the right time. The Board of Directors unanimously endorsed his appointment following a brief stint as Interim Executive Director. His experience in creating community service opportunities is a perfect match for the Compact.”
Since becoming Interim Director on January 27, Todd has convened ORCC’s first presidential dinner in over ten years, the agency’s first-ever fundraiser (bringing in over $12,000.00 and 75 new donors), and recruited one new member campus and one new college president to the ORCC board.
Todd will focus his efforts on increasing ORCC’s donor base (the organization incorporated as a
501(c)(3) two years ago) and strengthening the value proposition for colleges and university to maintain and join membership. Todd said,
ORCC campus members currently serve 75% of Oregon’s undergraduate population but I believe we can and must do better. The positive impacts of community-engaged teaching and learning should be available to every student and community in Oregon. That is my goal.”
A welcome reception is scheduled for Thursday, July 25 from 5:00-7:45pm at Helium Comedy Club (1510 SE 9th Ave) with entertainment by Adam Ferrara starting at 8:00pm. A portion of the proceeds will benefit ORCC. To learn more about ORCC or to donate contact Josh Todd, Executive Director at email@example.com, 503-406-3575, or visit www.oregoncampuscompact.org.