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Closing the gap

by Tod Massa 4. December 2015 23:00

As a reminder, the Commonwealth has adopted a measure and target within the Virginia Plan for Higher Education to eliminate gaps in student success (using SCHEV’s Student Success Index) by 2030.

Information regarding the Virginia Plan is at http://www.schev.edu/schev/StrategicPlan.asp.

Specific differences are highlighted here.  (make sure you scroll to the end as there is a fair amount of content).

More information on the Student Success Index is found at here.

Why am I reminding you of this? First, I think it is incredibly important goal. I have long believed that affordability and access are truly dependent on completion. Second, there are a number of stories this week that are directly related to this measure.


1) Coverage of the new report from the Education Trust about gaps in graduation rates. 


2) Nick Anderson of the Washington Post has his own take on those data.

And two related topics:

A Chronicle Interactive that highlights the cultural divide that can exist when students have a completely different background than the norm on campus. This is likely a challenge for many students at Virginia colleges. Addressing this divide successfully lead to increased retention and completion.

 I'm Gonna Rise Above What I Was Doing

Chicago taught Tavaris Sanders how to survive among gang members. Is there room for him to thrive at a liberal-arts college?

Jonah Markowitz photographed Mr. Sanders throughout his freshman year at Connecticut College. Now a sophomore, he spoke about the photos with Mr. Markowitz and Lawrence Biemiller.

 And then this Chronicle Ticker on new research on hunger, homelessness on campus with an accompanying op-ed by one of the authors, Sara Goldrick-Rab. This is important work which could play a role in improving student success in Virginia. It also simply reminds us that a number of our students struggle with just living, let alone studying. This is a reason I was pleased to see this story on VCU's student food pantry, following up on recognition by the Governor earlier in the year of its founder. 

Oh, and while addressing hunger and homelessness may have benefits toward the Commonwealth goals, it is probably also the right thing to do. And that should be enough reason.

An NYT Op-ed – Hungry, Homeless in College


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