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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Ambrose Joins National Discussion on College Value, Completion Among Underrepresented Groups

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 18, 2016) – While he continues to advocate for initiatives in higher education that can improve accessibility, affordability, and the reduction of students’ college debt load, University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose in October has been part of national discussion on issues related to college completion among underrepresented groups in higher education, career readiness, and value.

Ambrose’s national involvement in addressing these important issues has come through his participation in the 2016 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Symposium on Student Success Oct. 5 in New Orleans, and the USA Funds MSI Measuring College Value Grantee Kickoff Meeting in Indianapolis, Oct. 12.  Ambrose served on a panel at the ACCT event and was invited to serve as a presenter at the MSI meeting.

With more than 150 people in attendance, the ACCT Symposium brought together community college trustees and presidents as well as leaders from philanthropic organizations, government agencies and other non-profits to focus on workforce development and new research on vulnerable student populations. This included working students, parents and minorities.

 During the symposium, researchers who are focused on workforce and higher education presented briefing papers exploring a broad range of issues that must be confronted by community college leaders. Trustees worked collaboratively to develop policy responses to issues that were raised by new research presented during the event. This includes research dealing with topics such as the challenge of growing student debt load and how it has impacted the pursuit of bachelor’s degrees after associate degrees are earned; the correlation between teacher quality and student support services as related to student success; the need to pay much closer attention to the role of parenthood amidst a decline in needed college childcare facilities; addressing the differences that persist between the incomes of  African American students and white males who complete associate degrees, and much more. The event was sponsored by ACCT in partnership with USA Funds and with support from the Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation .

The MSI Measuring College Value Grantee Orientation involved members of an innovation group that includes seven institutions that received a combined total of $2.3 million in USA Funds® grant support for the development and application of data tools and institutional practices that enhance college completion rates and career readiness of first-generation, low-income and minority students. The three-year Measuring College Value Initiative is designed to support two-year and four-year minority-serving colleges and universities in measuring the value of their programs, improving student outcomes, and developing innovative approaches that inform the broader postsecondary education community of ways to increase program completion and advance the career readiness of their students.

During the meeting, President Ambrose led a workshop titled “The Critical Role of Businesses in the Development of College Value Initiatives,” drawing from experiences gained from The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC), a cooperative initiative between UCM, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and approximately 45 business partners. This helped institutional innovation groups to learn more about developing or enhancing their plans to engage businesses in developing their college value initiatives.

“For communities to prosper, it is important that we address the obstacles that are facing students at all levels. We must work together  to build smooth pathways to improve access for students entering college, particularly those who are underrepresented in higher education, while also giving them tools and services to help them succeed,” Ambrose said. “I’m grateful to represent UCM, and privileged to be invited to engage in dialogue with educators across the country.”