Peace and Justice in ACCU’s Spring Newsletter

ACCU recently released the spring edition of Update, our quarterly newsletter. Read Update in full here. Peace and Justice highlights include:

University of Mary Students Lead March for Life: In January, over 600 students, faculty, and administrators from the University of Mary led the 2017 National March for Life Rally. After attracting national media attention last year when they were snowbound for 24 hours on the Pennsylvania turnpike when returning from the 2016 March for Life, they were selected to lead the March.

Chestnut Hill College Inspires Students to Pursue College Dreams: President of Chestnut Hill College, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ is working to inspire local high school students in their pursuit of education and help them realize that the dream of a college education can become a reality. Through events such as “King Community Day” where the college invited students to campus for a basketball game and to meet with financial aid and admissions representatives, Chestnut Hill College is communicating the message that college education is not out of the reach of local students. This initiative is part of a wider campaign in northwest Philadelphia, involving the state senator and leaders in local schools, to inspire students to pursue a college education and build community connections.

Carlow University Works to Reduce Gun Violence: Carlow University launched its Social Justice Institutes with a focus on gun violence as the inaugural “Educating for Justice” issue, which will remain the focus through 2020. Social Justice Institutes’ goal is to promote advocacy and create systemic change through faculty research and community engagement.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Students Assist in Appalachia: Students and staff from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College spent a week in rural West Virginia this past fall on an Alternative Fall Break. They joined students from other colleges at Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community that provides service-retreat experiences. The group served the local community by helping homeowners with maintenance and construction.

Saint Martin’s Screens Film Showing Immigration Through a Child’s Eyes: The Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series at Saint Martin’s University recently featured a documentary film screening of Sad Happiness: Cinthya’s Cross Border Journey.” The film tells the story of 11-year-old Cinthya, a child who travels to her parents’ native community in Mexico for the first time where she visited her extended family, many of whom she has never met. The film’s producer, photographer and editor, Sonia De La Cruz is an assistant professor of communication studies at Saint Martin’s. The story illuminates the struggles and desires of families divided between the United States and other countries where children are mobile citizens but their parents cannot leave.   

Catholic Institutions Join Coalition to Improve College Access: Manhattan College, College of the Holy Cross, and St. Michael’s College have joined the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, a group of more than 90 public and private colleges and universities formed to improve the college application process for all students, provide substantial support to lower-resourced and underrepresented students, offer responsible financial aid support, and demonstrate a commitment to student graduation.

To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.

 

 

Catholic Institutions Commit to Action on College Opportunity

The Obama administration’s efforts to increase college opportunity has enticed the White House to ask colleges and universities to commit to helping more students enroll in and graduate from college. Several of our ACCU members have responded to the White House’s Commitment to Action on College Opportunity by pledging efforts in quite a few categories of commitment:

  • Completion Commitments 
    • Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities – Committed to producing an additional 11,500 graduates by 2020, the association will launch their project, “Stopping the Leak in the Educational Pipeline: Improving Matriculation and Graduation Rates at Franciscan Colleges and Universities.” With the help from this project, AFCU member institutions will join together and work closely with student success experts to develop systems, processes, and training to improve retention and graduation rates for all students, with a focus on at-risk students.
    • Loyola University Chicago – Loyola University Chicago has teamed up with Arrupe College in applying several strategies to help low-income, under-prepared and under-served students gain access to, succeed and graduate from a 4-year college or university. Together, they have commit to a total of 2,275 additional graduates by 2025.
    • St. Francis College – The Post–Prison College Opportunity Program at St. Francis College will promote civil rights by challenging the long-term consequences of mass incarceration by giving the formerly incarcerated the opportunity to earn a college degree. In addition, the program will provide tuition for accepted students through a combination of financial aid and scholarships.
  • K-16 Partnership Commitment
    • Trinity Washington University – In partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), Trinity Washington University commits to improving college readiness, retention and completion for DCPS students who enroll at Trinity. The partnership will emphasize persistence and success for DCPS graduates who wish to pursue majors that require strong math preparation and that are associated with high-wage/high-demand careers, as well as engage key D.C. college access providers in implementing persistence strategies.
  • STEM Commitment
    • Barry University – With the hopes of improving the retention and completion rates of low-income students, underrepresented minorities, and women in STEM majors, BU is working to develop a holistic engagement program designed to provide the outreach and opportunity structures that “fill the gap” for students who lack the pre-college academic preparation and developmental and personal experiences necessary for academic and professional success. As a Hispanic-serving institution whose 4-year graduation rate for the 2009 cohort was 45 percent, the university aims to increase that graduation rate by 10-15 percent by 2018 through interventions designed to foster community building, strong peer and faculty relationships, and a sense of academic self-efficacy.
    • Saint Martin’s University – In order to boost admittance and retention of women, low-income students, and underrepresented minority students in STEM degrees by between 5 and 10 percent, Saint Martin’s University will be launching a series of initiatives. Currently, the university is planning a series of monthly workshops for fifth through eighth graders, in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club, designed to increase STEM admittance. Also, to increase retention, the university’s biology program is restructuring degree requirements, moving toward a core concept and competency model that includes an increase in active learning models and student research experience.
    • Trinity Washington University – With a strong track record of educating low income women of color in the Washington region, Trinity’s STEM initiative will include best practices such as cohort organization, special academic and co-curricular advising, and focused foundational courses taught by specialists who can provide individualized support. The university commits to increasing their STEM enrollments by 50 percent annually, improving their graduation rates for STEM majors from 35 percent to no less than 65 percent (with a reach goal of 75 percent) and seeking to improve first-to-second year retention from the current rate of 61 percent to no less than 80 percent for STEM cohorts, in order to meet the overall graduation rate goals.
  • Counseling Commitment
    • Loyola University Maryland – The School Counseling Program (SCP) at Loyola University Maryland is planning a four-prong approach to support increasing college and career readiness among urban youth in Baltimore City and the surrounding counties. The components of the university’s four-pronged approach include providing direct counseling services to un-served and under-served youth in urban schools to enhance their vocational identity, program rigor, and college readiness; and expanding the research of counseling faculty regarding vocational identity.