University of Vermont


UVM’s College of Education and Social Services to Co-Host Event on Increasing College Enrollment and Success for all Vermonters

Vermont has the highest high school graduation rate in the nation at 91.4 percent, yet an inordinately low number of graduates decide to attend college. The University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services is co-sponsoring an event “Conversation on Enrollment and Success” to address this issue on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Grand Maple Ballroom of the Davis Center.

The event, co-sponsored by UVM, Vermont State Colleges, VSAC and Campus Compact, brings together key stakeholders to discuss the changing landscape of education in Vermont and to come up with action items designed to increase college enrollment and success for Vermont students. Discussion items include Vermont’s recent adoption of the Common Core Standards and its implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessments in the spring of 2015. The new standards, which have been adopted by Massachusetts and 44 other states and the District of Columbia, are designed to assess student’s reasoning and critical thinking skills and better equip them for careers and college.

The invitation-only event begins with introductory comments and challenges from UVM President Tom Sullivan; Tim Donovan, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges; and Scott Giles, president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. Fayneese Miller, dean of the College of Education and Social Services, will lay the foundation for the event with a talk on “The Current Landscape Related to Enrollment and Success in Higher Education.”

“The premise of the Common Core and Smarter Balance is to ensure that our young people will be college and/or career ready by the time they complete secondary education programs,” Miller says. “These two education initiatives, in my opinion, provide those of us in higher education, VSAC, and various community agencies, the opportunity to collaborate with K-12 to ensure that our young people are not only ready for a post-secondary experience, but also to enroll in college and be successful. Given the low college enrollment rate of Vermont students, we can only solve this problem if we work together.”  

Jacqueline E. King, director of the Higher Education Collaboration Smarter Balanced Consortium, will speak on how the Smarter Balanced Assessment will change the nature of the relationship between K-12 and higher education. Paul Hernandez, a well-known educator and social activist, will discuss his “College 101 and the Turnaround Initiative.” Once an “at-risk student” himself raised in the gang community of Los Angeles, Hernandez contends that at-risk students can get into and succeed in college if educators change the way they work with and relate to students. He recently left his faculty position at Central Michigan University to work with the United Way of Michigan on his Turnaround Initiative.

Hernandez will also give a lecture that is free and open to the public at 4 p.m. in the Silver Maple Ballroom as part of the CESS Dean’s Lecture series.