Tuesday, October 23, 2012

RSC Awarded $970,000 NGLC Grant to Expand Student Pathways

Rio Salado College has been awarded $970,000 from Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), an initiative dedicated to improving college readiness and completion to expand higher education pathways in early college programs, educational service partnerships and credit for prior learning. This award is part of the $5.4 million recently awarded to Wave III grantees which comprise 20 secondary and 10 postsecondary schools to support 13 new models of personalized, blended learning. 

“NGLC’s Wave III grantees are the new-model builders. They are designing schools and college-level learning pathways that encourage access, persistence, and completion in learning environments that marry technology and close attention to students’ individual needs,” said Andrew Calkins, Deputy Director of NGLC. “They are striving to accelerate and deepen learning for today’s digital-native students, who come to school with high expectations for engagement and personalization.”

This funding will help Rio Salado College accelerate the timeline to degree completion by providing students expanded opportunity in high schools, the workplace and ability to earn credit for what they already know. In addition, the college will create a customized online student portal where students can see their progress, map their road to degree completion and connect them with mentors to encourage them throughout the process.

“If we are to increase the number of college graduates and provide our communities with an educated workforce, we need new models of higher education,” said Rio Salado College President, Chris Bustamante Ed.D. “We must be innovative. We must accelerate completion through our public and private partnerships. We must be cost-efficient and effective in leveraging technology in order to expand access and increase our ability to serve students.”

NGLC’s purpose in funding scalable, breakthrough models is to enrich the landscape of these bold experiments in learning design and to inform the development of innovative practices in other schools and colleges. Through extensive study of the new models’ experience and the sharing of strategies, lessons learned, and evidence – including both positive and negative student outcomes – NGLC seeks to ensure that this new-model development serves the entire education sector, including practitioners, policy leaders, researchers, and innovators.

“The field’s response to NGLC’s challenge has exceeded our hopes,” Calkins said, “and is a strong indication of the rapidly deepening interest and activity surrounding these new, digitally-supported, personalized approaches to learning.”

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About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, was recently recognized as the fastest growing community college in the nation serving nearly 70,000 students annually. In addition to providing high-quality instruction for 100+ degree and certificate pathways, Rio Salado is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable access through;  adult basic education, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning.

About Next Generation Learning Challenges
Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) accelerates educational innovation through applied technology to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States. This multi-year program provides investment capital to expand the use of proven and emerging learning technologies, collects and shares evidence of what works, and fosters innovation and adoption of solutions which will dramatically improve the quality of learning in the United States, particularly for low-income students and students of color.

NGLC Organizational Partners and Funders: Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) is a partnership led by EDUCAUSE and funded primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other partners include the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Funding for NGLC has also been provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Media Contact:
Delynn Bodine
480.517.8205
delynn.bodine@riosalado.edu
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