Education for the New Student Majority: Collaborations, Innovations and Strategies for Completion

October 24–26, 2018
Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark, Austin, Texas

The 2018 Yes We Must Coalition National Conference brought together 117 post-secondary faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as other advocates for equity in higher education, to share strategies for successfully implementing change to increase college-degree attainment for low-income and other underrepresented students. The conference highlighted the Coalition’s special interest in cross-institutional collaborations for scalable change.

What is working to improve the results for students from low-income backgrounds? Attendees shared and learned about the evidence-based strategies and policies that are making a difference in recruitment, enrollment, persistence, and completion.

In the post-conference feedback survey, 94% of the respondents said that they left the Conference with concrete ideas for new collaborative projects with colleagues at their own or other YWM institutions, and 100% indicated they had met new colleagues from other YWM institutions with whom they planned to connect after the Conference. These data suggest that an important goal of the conference was achieved — the promotion of new ideas and collaboration among participants committed to improving education for the new student majority.

Conference Highlights

Opening Keynote and Plenary Session Events

Wil del PilarOpening Keynote

Identifying Barriers for Student Success: Acting with Intentionality
Wil del Pilar, Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice, The Education Trust
Download Dr. del Pilar’s PowerPoint presentation

Mamie VoightPlenary Sessions

Trends in Postsecondary Data Policy and Institutional Data Use
Mamie Voight, Vice President of Policy Research
Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)
Download Dr. Voight’s PowerPoint presentation

Stop Tweaking Around the Edges

Dennis Littky, Joyce Aboutaan, Jose Rodriguez, College Unbound

Dennis Littky, President, College Unbound
Joyce Aboutaan, Student, College Unbound
Jose Rodriguez, Coordinator, College Unbound Gloria Nemerowicz receives the Do It Just award from Dennis Littky

Dr. Littky’s presentation included awarding Gloria Nemerowicz, YWMC President, College Unbound’s Center for Equity and Restorative Justice “Do It Just” Award which honors high school students, adult learners, and public figures who are committed to equity and restorative justice in their life and work. The award recognizes Gloria on a poster and postcards; one is created for each of the Center’s award recipients.

Uri Treisman

Math Pathways: From Scaling Pilots to Change at Scale
Uri Treisman, Executive Director
Charles A. Dana Center, University of Texas at Austin

Scenes from the Conference

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Funders’ Panel

Foundation Approaches to Intervening in Poverty
Loni Bordoloi Pazich, Program Director, The Teagle Foundation
Sue McMillin, President and CEO, Greater Texas Foundation
Scott Dalessandro, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Funders Panel

Panel Sessions

Twenty Panel Presentations led conference attendees in exploration of collaborations, innova­tions and strategies for completion at Yes We Must Coalition member institutions and other schools focused on underserved and low-income student success. Participants engaged in interactive presentations on the following tracks and topics:

Enrollment and First-Year Strategies: Bridge Programs; First-Year Programs; Reducing Enrollment Barriers

Strategies to Create Sustainability: Addressing Basic Needs; Faculty Connectivity and Inclusion; An NSF Funded Collaboration to Increase Persistence in STEM

Reframing the Curriculum: Pathways; Academic Support; A Teagle Foundation Funded Collaboration to Infuse Business Programs with Liberal Arts

Friday Roundtable

Strategy Dinner with Funders

YWMC members joined foundation funders around tables to envision the information/resources/​support needed to make a positive impact on persistence and the graduation rate at their institutions, better systems for tracking student progress and scaling up initiatives that are working to respond to points of attrition, and ways our institutions together can be more effective than we are working separately. 

Strategy Dinner with Fundersfunders dinnerStrategy Dinner with FundersFunders dinner

Funders Strategy Dinner

Roundtable Discussions

Led by colleagues, attendees met in small groups on two mornings to discuss 19 topics delving into the Yes We Must Coalition’s collaborative initiatives for collecting and using data on low-income student success, online academic sharing, undergraduate research, and curricular pathways; supporting specific students — rural, DACA, trauma survivors, at-risk; innovating the curriculum and institutional structures — Gen Ed, Developmental, scheduling, student affairs, work models, experience-based learning, peer mentoring, career decision-making.

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Conference Sponsors

PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSOR
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS
Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation
The Kresge Foundation
The Teagle Foundation

BRONZE LEVEL SPONSORS
Greater Texas Foundation
College Possible

  • PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSOR
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS
  • Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Teagle Foundation
  • BRONZE LEVEL SPONSORS
  • College Possible
  • Greater Texas Foundation

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