Ohio Strong Start to Finish partners with ACUE to advance developmental education reform

How do we better understand our students’ ability to learn and meet the expectations of college-level work?

This important question, rooted in a desire to address equity gaps among students, in teaching practices and in faculty mindset, led the Ohio Strong Start to Finish (OhioSSF) to partner with ACUE to continue advancing developmental education reform across the state.

A collaboration between the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), the Inter-University Council (IUC), the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) and the 18 community colleges and 12 universities in Ohio that have committed to the project, OhioSSF aims to significantly increase the number of students completing gateway mathematics and English courses as part of a guided pathway within their first academic year.

“Ohio colleges and universities have been redesigning curriculum, creating degree pathways and enhancing academic and social support services to help students succeed in their first year of college and beyond,” said Dr. Thomas Sudkamp of Ohio SSF. “An essential component for student success is ensuring that outstanding faculty are engaging with the students. The partnership of Ohio Strong Start to Finish and ACUE brings a program nationally recognized for increasing course and degree completion to faculty across the state.”

The new partnership with ACUE, generously supported by Strong Start to Finish (SSTF), will allow 120 faculty members from the 30 OhioSSF-participating institutions to take part in ACUE’s 25-module Effective Teaching Practices course.

Additionally, in an effort to impact even more educators across OhioSSF campuses, participating faculty will have the opportunity to share what they have learned in other faculty meetings and through various communications and culture-building activities. 

“We applaud the partnership between ACUE and the Ohio Department of Higher Education for their actions to undertake these reforms. Their work to support faculty will serve as a model for systems across the country looking to implement similar reform efforts,” says Christopher M. Mullin, director of Strong Start to Finish at the Education Commission of the States.

Research has shown ACUE-credentialed faculty sustain their use of evidence-based practices, which benefit all students and are particularly beneficial to students from historically underrepresented, disenfranchised and minoritized communities.

Through OhioSSF’s partnership with ACUE, 40 percent of students in gateway mathematics and English courses with corequisite support across the 30 participating institutions will be taught by faculty who have learned about, and are implementing, evidence-based teaching practices.

“The ACUE team is incredibly excited about the scale of impact this program will have on student success efforts in Ohio. Given typical teaching loads, we estimate that this work will directly benefit more than 14,000 students in the initial year. ACUE-credentialed faculty across the country have demonstrated strong evidence of impact across a diversity of learners,” said Marianne Dombroski, partnership director, ACUE.

OhioSSF is one of SSTF’s Scaling Sites. The partnership with ACUE is supported from a second round of pooled funding, totaling more than $5.3 million, to accelerate the developmental education reform movement. The grants expand the initiative’s footprint to nearly 5 million undergraduates in 96 universities and 277 community colleges across 12 states. More information at SSTF News.

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