U of A Takes Leadership Role in National Student Success Initiative

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas has joined a group of 130 public and land-grant universities in a first-time, comprehensive effort to improve student success in all of their institutions – and across all public higher education.

The initiative is called Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, and has been organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, with the goals of increasing college access, eliminating achievement gaps among students, improving retention and graduation rates and ensuring student achievement after graduation.

The member universities, which collectively have 3 million students, including 1 million who receive Pell Grants, have been organized into 16 groups – called “clusters” – each focusing on a specific aspect of student success. The APLU asked U of A Chancellor Joe Steinmetz to lead the Southern Cluster, addressing the issue of closing achievement gaps in public universities – such as the difference in graduation rates for students from different socio-economic backgrounds.

“I am very proud that the U of A has been chosen for this leadership position, although each school in our group brings its own strengths and experience to the discussion,” said Steinmetz. “I’m looking forward to this collaboration and the fresh ideas that will be brought to the table.”

Powered by Publics is based on the premise that the member institutions can share resources and experiences – ideas that work and lessons learned from those that didn’t – and can develop approaches that will benefit all public higher education institutions. The ultimate goal is to substantially increase the number of students graduating from public universities by the year 2025.

“This initiative will facilitate collaboration and collective action to improve degree completion,” said Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor, who is leading the U of A team in the initiative. “We are excited by the opportunity. The Southern Cluster will examine the shared barriers to the success of students in our institutions. We’ll also share our experience and assessments of intervention strategies that we have deployed. Then, drawing on these data, and the information shared throughout the APLU initiative, we will collectively develop and implement a five-year plan of action towards all of our goals of increasing degree completion and the post-graduation success of students. 

“Student success is our top guiding priority and a key mission as a public land-grant university,” Coleman said. “When successful, this initiative will help Arkansas universities graduate more Arkansas students.”

The 11 schools in the Southern Cluster represent public institutions both large and small:

  • Louisiana State University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • The Southern University System
  • Tuskegee University
  • The University of Alabama System
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of South Carolina

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu


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