Lehman College Selected for “Change and Innovation Lab,” a National Initiative on First-generation and Nontraditional Student Achievement

April 23, 2014 | Lehman College

Lehman College has been selected by the American Council on Education (ACE) to participate in the Change and Innovation Lab (CIL), a groundbreaking program to help colleges and universities implement significant and sustainable initiatives to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students who gain a college degree.

Lehman is one of nine institutions that will work during the 18-month CIL project to implement concrete steps on their campuses and identify how some of these practices can be applied broadly at colleges and universities across the country. The project is supported by a $400,000 grant from Lumina Foundation.

“Many of our students are first-generation, the sons and daughters of immigrants who came to New York City seeking opportunities for their families,” said Ricardo R. Fernández, President of Lehman College. “What used to be the “non-traditional” student – an older student returning to school – is rapidly becoming the “traditional” student at Lehman College. This project will help us evolve – and assist other institutions as they evolve – so all are better prepared in this rapidly changing global economic climate.”

“The institutions that are participating in the Change and Innovation Lab are engaged in meaningful exploration of initiatives aimed at mobilizing higher education to increase student success and attainment nationwide,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “We are grateful to Lumina Foundation for its support of this project, as well as for its continuing focus on improving post-secondary attainment.”

ACE convened the initial meeting of the CIL earlier this month in Washington, attended by campus teams that included each institution’s president or chancellor and chief academic officer. The criteria for selecting CIL institutions was designed to encourage high-access institutions to participate, including colleges and universities that enroll large numbers of Pell Grant recipients, have a history of serving or the capacity to serve post-traditional learners, and are interested in using technology and data to improve attainment rates.

Also participating in the Change and Innovation Lab are Brandman University (CA); Cambridge College (MA); Edinboro University (PA); Georgia Gwinnett College; Graceland University (MO); Hiram College (OH); Mercy College (NY); and Winthrop University (SC).

“Campus leaders engaged in the Change and Innovation Lab are both systematically planning their own transformation efforts, with a focus on change leadership, faculty engagement, and the smart use of data, and helping us to develop templates and promising practices that can be applied more broadly,” said Cathy A. Sandeen, ACE’s vice president for education attainment and innovation. “The work being undertaken here is an important step in achieving the type of transformational change that is needed to reach ambitious national attainment goals.”

“We are very pleased that ACE’s Change and Innovation Lab for higher education leadership teams is underway and look forward to seeing the results,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “We hope CIL can help provide the set of skills and tools leaders need today to close attainment gaps, and we are particularly hopeful that training leadership teams can more fully engage a campus in pursuit of those goals.”