On August 5, 2015, Dr. Timothy M. Renick, Georgia State University Vice Provost and Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, was invited to give testimony before the U.S. Senate, as part of a series of hearings meant to inform decisions about the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
During his oral testimony, Dr. Renick described how, under the leadership of President Mark Becker, Georgia State University had made a commitment to developing a model that would see students from all backgrounds succeed at high rates. Through programs like Panther Retention Grants — an initiative that distributes one-time micro grants to students who are on track for graduation, but who have small amounts of unmet need that present obstacles to progression — and GPS Advising — a system that uses predictive analytics to identify students at risk and that provides advisors with the intelligence necessary to get those students back on track — Georgia State University has seen a 22 point increase in graduation rates over the last ten years, and a complete elimination of all achievement gaps on the basis on race, ethnicity, and economics.
Dr. Renick praised the University Innovation Alliance, of which Georgia State University is a founding member, for the work it is doing to accelerate the pace of change in American higher education. By generating actionable solutions at scale, and with a view to sharing findings and empowering other institutions to adopt proven best practices, coalitions like the UIA play a vital role in the transformation of American higher education that is currently under way.
“Collaboration across institutions is perhaps the most promising path to transforming student outcomes at scale,” said Dr. Renick, who continued by making a case for increased government investment in support of cooperative efforts aimed at producing tested innovation that is transformative at scale.
Dr. Renick eloquently concluded his testimony with a humble and inspiring call for action: “Georgia State University still has much work to do, but our story demonstrates that significant improvements in student success can be achieved through embracing inclusion rather than exclusion. It shows that, contrary to popular belief, students from all backgrounds can succeed at high rates, and that dramatic gains can be made even amid the context of constrained resources. Georgia State’s story is indeed improbable, and that’s the problem. It’s the time we made it the norm.”
Dr. Renick’s full testimony can be viewed via the senate HELP committee website here: http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Renick.pdf .
Complete video from the proceeding is also available: www.help.senate.gov/hearings/watch?hearingid=83009E67-5056-A066-6054-345970D665B2