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Portland State University
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Transformational Grant Planning

USU's Transformational Planning Grant was part one of a two phase effort (Collaborative Opportunity Grants are phase two) whose initial phase supported a cohort of seven public urban research universities as they spent a year planning and designing new business models and innovative approaches to increase access, improve student success, and identify greater cost efficiencies. Institutions that participated in the initial phase of the grant are: California State University, Fresno; Florida International University; Georgia State University; Portland State University; Temple University; the University of Akron; and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Their planning grants focused on the following reforms:

  • Building a regional college going culture and aligning curriculum along the K‐16 pipeline.
  • Overhauling high‐failure, high‐enrollment gateway course instruction to boost student success;
  • Using predictive analytics to help better forecast student needs such as by providing
  • modernized course scheduling;
  • Creating interactive degree maps that allows students to forecast and track their academic
  • progression;
  • Developing a new admissions pathway for students who show potential academic success, but
  • don’t perform well on standardized tests;
  • Reforming course delivery to unbundle courses and student services from the traditional credithour
  • model; and
  • Partnering with community non‐profits to provide additional support and mentoring throughout
  • students’ transition from high school to college.

USU shared the practices and findings advanced through the now‐concluded phase‐one TPG projects with the more than 200 APLU members to help public universities better understand how to optimize the education they provide to their rapidly evolving student populations. The practices identified through the first phase of TPG were also outlined in a report, Revolutionizing the Role of the University: Collaboration to Advance Innovation in Higher Education, published last year.

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