By Jeff Murphy, November 17, 2015
WARRENSBURG, MO – The Lumina Foundation, a not-for-profit organization committed to
increasing the number of United States citizens who have college degrees, has invited
Charles Ambrose, president of the University of Central Missouri, to serve as a speaker/panelist
at the organization’s upcoming convening, Wednesday-Thursday, Nov. 18-19 in Indianapolis,
Titled, “Symposium on 10 Years to Goal 2025,” the event focuses on the national goal to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. According to the Lumina Foundation, the organization is pursuing the goal with a renewed sense of urgency and focus as its membership seeks to align their efforts with all those committed to dramatically increasing postsecondary attainment.
The symposium is an invitational event involving participants representing the various key stakeholders in efforts to increase attainment. Objectives for the event are to understand the progress the nation has made in reaching Goal 2025 and the current educational, economic and social context for increasing attainment; explore issues that must be addressed to reach Goal 2025 based on what has been learned to date about increasing attainment; and focus on collective efforts necessary now to build momentum to reaching Goal 2025.
Plenary sessions will address the three objectives. President Ambrose will participate on the third panel Nov. 19, which is titled, “Are we thinking and acting big enough to reach Goal 2025?” The session will be moderated by Holiday Hart McKiernan, chief of staff and general counsel for the Lumina Foundation.
As a leader at UCM, Ambrose has been instrumental in helping the university to play an active role in achieving the “60 percent by 2025” goal for college degree attainment, which also happens to be a state goal, issued by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. While contributing to this goal, UCM continues to increase its graduation numbers. A total of 3,511 academic degrees were awarded in 2014-2015, up 22 percent from 2,741 the previous year.
Under the president’s leadership, UCM has strived to be a state leader in keeping college costs down while also implementing initiatives to help move students across the degree completion finish line faster. The Learning to a Greater Degree student contract for completion, for example, helps students stay on track to graduate in four years, by asking students to take at least 15 hours of the right courses per semester, meet regularly with their academic advisors, live on campus their first two years as undergraduates, and show up for class.
To achieve Goal 2025, Lumina Foundation is taking an outcomes-bases approach that focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while encouraging education stakeholders to move rapidly to help achieve this important milestone.