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University of Wisconsin Madison
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Julia Michaels
Executive Director
Center for Public
University Transformation
(202) 478-6071
jmichaels@aplu.org

Media Contact:
Mike Brost
Assistant Director
of Public Affairs
(202) 478-6038
mbrost@aplu.org

Cluster Timeline

Intensive collaborative activities supported by APLU will run for five years, with continued evaluation and opportunities for renewed engagement beyond the initial five-year period. APLU has divided the five-year period into five phases, some of which are overlapping and ongoing and often will not correspond with calendar years.

  • Phase I: Organizing Clusters (2018)

    View the detailed Phase I Action Plan

    • Work with main points of contact at interested institutions to begin forming the clusters.
    • Get agreement and buy-in on the composition of the cluster from each participating university.
    • Each cluster will hold virtual meetings during the summer/early fall of 2018. There will be two virtual meetings with main contacts from each campus as well as one conference call with presidents and chancellors.
    • APLU continues to develop partnerships with national higher education stakeholders and technical assistance groups.
    • APLU continues its work on a knowledge-management platform to collect, synthesize, and disseminate results of collaborative activities.
    • Kick-off the initiative at the 2018 APLU Annual Meeting (half-day session)
  • Phase II: Assessment of Current Capacities and Initial Collaborative Work (2019)
    • Clusters work collaboratively to drive agreed-upon degree completion and student success efforts on campus.
    • APLU provides advice and data via a knowledge-management platform and cluster meetings/conference calls/campus visits.
    • APLU works with clusters to procure financial support from national or regional funders to support cluster activities.
    • Clusters and APLU begin to develop a “marketplace” for student success solutions and strengthen relationships with other higher education stakeholders nationally.
    • Gates Foundation assessment tool is piloted with at least 20 campuses.
    • Other self-assessment tools are administered as needed (e.g., Lumina Beyond Financial Aid assessment).
    • Cluster members share and discuss results of self-assessments.
  • Phase III: Continued Collaborative Work, Innovation, and Action (2019-2022)
    • Clusters continue to work collaboratively to drive agreed-upon degree completion and student success efforts on campus.
    • New student success strategies that emerge from the clusters are piloted or tested more broadly.
    • Existing best practices are adapted for use in various campus contexts.
    • APLU continues to provide advice and data via a knowledge-management platform and cluster meetings/conference calls/campus visits.
    • APLU continues to work with clusters to procure financial support from national or regional funders to support cluster activities.
    • Clusters and APLU continue to develop a “marketplace” for student success solutions and strengthen relationships with other higher education stakeholders nationally.
  • Phase IV: Sharing Lessons Learned (2020-2022)
    • Clusters continue to work collaboratively to drive agreed-upon degree completion and student success efforts on campus, with a focus on sharing and scaling.
    • Shared standards and self-assessment tools are developed.
    • Data is collected and synthesized to evaluate success.
    • Cluster participants share key data and lessons learned.
    • APLU conducts outreach to generate support for implementation of successful strategies among universities.
    • APLU disseminates knowledge across the membership and strategic partners in the higher education sector; lessons learned are used in our congressional advocacy efforts as applicable. APLU may also provide guidance to universities to use in their own state/local advocacy activities.
  • Phase V: Overall Evaluation & Planning Next Steps for the Initiative (2022)
    • Develop final learning products and sustainability plan.
    • Re-evaluate and renew commitments, and identify new opportunities for collaboration.

Project Highlights

  • 130 change-ready universities and state systems
  • 16 transformation clusters
  • 3 million undergraduates

Project Goals

  • Produce hundreds of thousands more graduates by 2025 with an emphasis on underrepresented minority, low-income, and first-generation students.
     
  • Cut in half the achievement gap by 2025 for underrepresented minority, low-income, and first-generation students while increasing access.
     
  • Share key data, learning, and effective practices to drive innovation and transformation across the higher education sector.

Strategy

APLU’s overall proposed strategy for organizational change contains three core elements:

  • Align APLU’s existing degree completion initiatives into the Center for Public University Transformation to focus efforts and accelerate shared goals;
     
  • Collaborate with member universities and, where appropriate, community colleges to scale evidence-based strategies and incubate new solutions for student success that can be applied across a diverse set of institutions; and
     
  • Build a set of national partnerships to diffuse lessons learned and drive progress across the higher education sector.