News 2017

Robert Morris University Illinois President Elected to Yes We Must Coalition Board

Mablene Krueger, President of Robert Morris University Illinois, will serve on the Board of Directors of Yes We Must, an organization that promotes opportunities in higher education for low income/first generation students.


Mablene Krueger, President of Robert Morris University IllinoisRobert Morris University Illinois and the Yes We Must Coalition (YWMC) are pleased to announce that RMU President Mablene Krueger has been elected to a three-year term on the Coalition’s Board of Directors.

Yes We Must is a national organization that advocates for low-income/first generation students, providing a strong voice on their behalf. It strives to increase degree attainment among these students by promoting the work of small, independent, not for profit colleges and universities who are committed to this purpose.

The mission of Robert Morris University Illinois is to provide higher education opportunities for all students with the desire for self-improvement through a college degree. Recognized as the most diverse university in the Midwest, RMU serves students in Chicago and throughout the state at nine campuses in Illinois.

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Yes We Must Coalition Receives 3-Year Capacity Building Grant

The Yes We Must Coalition (YWMC) has been awarded a 3-year, $990,545 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The funding will allow the Coalition to reach new members, facilitate more collaborative projects, and provide support for member institutions, all of which enroll 50% or more Pell-eligible students. Founded in 2011, the Coalition is guided by a mission to increase degree attainment of low-income students by promoting the work of independent, notfor-profit colleges and universities committed to this purpose. Student-centered education and evidence-based strategies drive the collaborative initiatives undertaken by members of the Coalition.

“The undergraduate students enrolled in our member institutions represent the new student majority in American education,” said Dr. Gloria Nemerowicz, Founder and President of the Coalition. “These are primarily students who are the first in their families to attend college — many from communities of color, rural Appalachia and other areas of poverty. This new funding will help the Coalition to deepen the collaborative efforts of our national network of colleges and universities in order to implement changes necessary for the success of underrepresented students.” Six collaborative projects are already underway, one of which is supporting Pelleligible STEM majors to persist to graduation. This 5-year, $4.4 million initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation and involves 6 YWMC member institutions.

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National Science Foundation Awards 4.4 Million Dollars

“Collaborative Research: Institutional Collaboration To Recruit, Retain and Graduate Low-Income Students in Biology”

Four Yes We Must member institutions — Coker College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Ferrum College, and Mercy College — will partner with the Yes We Must Coalition to implement a series of activities with the intention of increasing the persistence of a large and diverse cohort of low-income students majoring in Biology. Sixty percent of the funds will support student scholarships. The 5-year project will contribute new information regarding the recruitment, retention and graduation of low-income STEM students. By creating cross-institutional networks of biology students, faculty, project coordinators and external scientists, we will create a strong network of support and scientific identity for our STEM scholars.

The project builds on activities and best practices developed by each of the 4 collaborating institutions and also includes new activities. These include: (1) CATALYST, a “Jumpstart” inspired program with a particular focus for helping students develop a sense of community and belonging; (2) an integrated first-year experience including a STEM-based first-year seminar, advising, and peer-assisted study sessions for gateway science classes; (3) intrusive advising and faculty/peer mentors program where each student will be matched with a dedicated faculty and peer STEM mentor; (4) continuing hands-on research/project-based learning under faculty mentorship; (5) seminar series by scientists where students will meet working professionals in STEM fields; (6) graduate school/career preparation through an intensive series of workshops and cohort activities to educate students about STEM career and graduate school opportunities; and (7) an annual Institute that will bring the cohort of students and teams from the six collaborating institutions together. This Institute will feature research conducted by the STEM Scholars in addition to workshops designed to increase student success. The impact of these activities on enrollment and retention, graduation, and post-graduate placement rates will be assessed both formatively and at the end of the project. Assessment will employ mixed methods including collection of student data, surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The project will provide a scalable model of institutional collaboration.

The Teagle Foundation Announces Two Planning Grant Awards to the Yes We Must Coalition.

The first award is for the “Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence” initiative. The members involved are College of Saint Elizabeth, Metropolitan College of New York, Trocaire College, Martin Methodist College, and Heritage University. Teams of faculty from these schools will work collaboratively for nine months to develop a multi-year implementation grant to produce more coherent, streamlined, efficient pathways to graduation for their students.

The second award is for "Collaborating to Educate Business Students in a Liberal Arts Context", part of the Foundation’s Integrating Liberal Arts into the Professions initiative. The four Yes We Must member schools that will work together on this grant are Bacone College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Coker College and Keuka College. Their work will result in a multi-year implementation proposal that will be submitted to The Teagle Foundation at the end of the 8-month planning process.

The Yes We Must Coalition is grateful for the support of The Teagle Foundation for these collaborative projects.

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