How The College Promise Movement Is Changing The College Access Narrative

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session MERLOT Community College

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Brief Abstract

The College Promise Campaign (CPC) is focused on eliminating tuition for at least the first two years of college. Increasingly, across the country this goal is complemented by evidence-based accelerated learning programs that attract under-served populations, improve retention, and speed time to completion leading to employment in growing sectors of the economy at family-sustaining wages. This featured session will focus on available tools and strategies that identify and promote practical replications of successful, cost-effective programs at scale that combine a College Promise with Accelerated Learning, with examples drawn from a select group of colleges and universities. 


Hal Plotkin is the former Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Education in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. Prior to his federal service, Mr. Plotkin was a member and president of the board of trustees at the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, where he oversaw the development of the first district-wide policy in the U.S. to support faculty interested in creating, using and improving open educational resources. During the Obama administration, Mr. Plotkin was responsible for helping to oversee the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Training (TAACCT) $2 billion grant program. Mr. Plotkin is also the author of “Free to Learn” a policy development guide for community college governance officials, and has served as a consultant to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He is presently a consultant to the College Promise Campaign, which is helping to lead the national effort to eliminate tuition for at least the first two years at public colleges and universities. Mr. Plotkin holds an A.A. degree in history from Foothill College and a B.A. degree in behavioral sciences from San Jose state University.
Kim Grewe is an educator, scholar, online learning enthusiast, and champion of open education. With teaching experience from middle school to community college, Kim is currently working as an instructional designer at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), one of the largest and most diverse community colleges in the United States. Here she works with faculty to build quality online learning experiences for students. At NOVA, Kim is often involved in initiatives around Open Educational Resources (OER). Kim has enjoyed conducting research around OER, both as an OER Research Fellow and a VCCS Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow. She just successfully completed her dissertation, a qualitative study which explores the impact of OER on students’ deep approaches to learning. Kim graduated from Old Dominion University with a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership in December 2018. When Kim is not doing scholarly work, you can usually find her hiking a trail with her field glasses, trying to find and identify birds and other wildlife. She also enjoys traveling, cooking, and reading.
Vera Kennedy is a tenured faculty at West Hills College Lemoore and Lecturer at California State University, Fresno. She received a B.A. in sociology and M.P.A. in political science with an emphasis in public administration from Fresno State and Ed.D. in education with an emphasis in teaching and learning from Argosy University. Her research publications include A Career in Sociology (2019), Beyond Race: Cultural Influences on Human Social Life (2018), OER Student Learning Assessment (2017), #THINK: Critical Thinking about Social Problems (2017), Improving Undergraduate Student Understanding of Social Research through Service Learning (2013), and The Influence of Cultural Capital on Hispanic Student College Graduation Rates (2012). She is currently on the MERLOT Sociology Editorial Board and served as an OER textbook reviewer for the California OER Council (Cool4Ed). She received the West Hills Community College District Innovation Award in 2015 and 2016 for designing tablet courses and OER curriculum and currently serves as the OER Faculty Fellow for the Center for Faculty Excellence at Fresno State.

Extended Abstract