Creating the Conditions for Equitable Student Access and Success at an Innovative University
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Presser, Matthew Corey
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CitationPresser, Matthew Corey. 2019. Creating the Conditions for Equitable Student Access and Success at an Innovative University. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractHigher education is at an inflection point. Earning a college degree has never been more important – or more expensive. Today’s college students are more diverse and older than students who came before them, and they are more commonly taking some or all of their classes online. Colleges and universities are scrambling to keep up with these and other changes to avoid the fates of some of their now-shuttered peers.
In the midst of this shifting context, the nation’s most innovative universities are launching new approaches to serving diverse populations of students. As a leader-in-residence at Southern New Hampshire University, I was charged with launching one such initiative: a $20-million program to support DREAMers enrolling in college online. This capstone analyzes key moments and decision points in my leadership of this initiative and draws on research about how to best serve underrepresented populations in higher education, how to develop effective partnerships between universities and community-based organizations, and how to lead organizational change in academia.
I find that in addition to developing effective partnerships grounded in the research on how to best serve DREAMers, successful leadership of such a complex change initiative needed closer attention to internal political dynamics and tighter alignment of goals and processes. More broadly, as more universities prepare to serve populations of learners with which they have limited experience historically, I argue that they must build deep levels of cultural competence, pay careful attention to organizational culture, intentionally transform traditional processes and structures, and sustain a commitment to clear goals supported by processes for evaluating progress even in the face of new ideas.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42063287