Public Purpose Magazine, Winter 2016
Public Purpose Winter 2016 - Cover


Between the LinesChallenging Perennial Issues Through InnovationBy Susan M. Chilcott
What would you like to know about helping students achieve success? There is no shortage of resources. Amazon lists more than 4,000 books in the area of student success—4,158 to be exact. Titles such as Student Success in College: Doing What Works or It’s the Student, Not the College: The Secrets of Succeeding at Any School Without Going Broke or Crazy are among the first options. And if we want another option, wait until July when a new book, Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success, will be available. 

Re-Imagining the First Year of CollegeBy George L. Mehaffy
In February 2016, AASCU launched its Re-Imagining the First Year of College initiative, a new project aimed at ensuring success for all students, particularly those who have historically been underserved by higher education: low income, first generation, and students of color. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USA Funds, AASCU has created a coalition of 44 member institutions that will work together for three calendar years (2016-2018) to develop comprehensive, institutional transformation that redesigns the first year of college and creates sustainable change for student success. What follows is an excerpt from a speech by George Mehaffy, AASCU’s vice president for academic leadership and change, delivered at the AASCU Winter Academic Affairs meeting in 2014. 

MilitaryStudent Success Reflects Shared Legacy of SOC & AASCUBy Daniel T. Riggle
As Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) enters its 44th year, AASCU and its member institutions should mark this occasion with pride, as vital contributors to SOC’s endurance and success. SOC’s formation in 1972 grew out of tenuous relations between the Department of Defense (DoD) and several higher education associations. As these discussions progressed, AASCU’s chief executive officer, Allan Ostar, was approached to consider expanding the SOC program to include four-year degrees, many involving AASCU schools. Ostar’s positioning was fortuitous, both as AASCU’s CEO, and as a WWII infantry veteran and former correspondence course writer for United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI). SOC’s Clint Anderson called this period “politically awkward” in SOC’s early development, with Carnegie Corporation funding two-year programs and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and DoD (through USAFI) funding four-year programs, while AASCU, the American Council on Education (ACE), and the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges (AACJC) sought common ground (Anderson, p. 13)

Presidents & PracticesThe Path to Stronger and More Secure CampusesBy Joseph I. Castro
The dramatic increase in random violence on university campuses and the possibility that it could happen at any time on my campus have been foremost among my concerns as university president for two years at California State University, Fresno. 

The possible became all too real Nov. 2, 2015, when a student used a social media site to threaten violence with an automatic weapon. Although he quickly deleted the post, another student took a screenshot and shared it. Within minutes, the threat and screenshot went viral. 

EndSightsCatalyzing ChangeBy Andrew Leavitt
Reflecting on the challenges facing higher education today, it is clear that transformational change can be initiated by either challenge or opportunity. In rare instances, it is both challenge and opportunity that bring about the most innovative transformation. 

Against the backdrop of the recent $250 million state budget reduction, changes in tenure and shared governance, and declining demographics, the University of Wisconsin System is undergoing a huge transition as it attempts to re-envision higher education. While striving to maintain our traditional educational strengths, we must also embrace change in order to meet the needs of the state and demonstrate that we are worthy of taxpayer investment. At the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, we have risen to the challenge by using these new realities to catalyze unprecedented change— academically, fiscally and culturally.