September 11, 2023

Moon Shot for Equity Mission Hosts Russell Lowery-Hart

moonshotOn Wednesday, September 20, newly named Austin Community College (ACC) Chancellor Russell Lowery-Hart will visit West Chester University in support of the WCU Moon Shot for Equity mission.

Lowery-Hart will address the topic “The Equity Moon Shot: Moving from transformational initiatives to a transformational institution” at 4:30 p.m. in the Science and Engineering Center and The Commons (SECC) room 108. His presentation is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, however, and registration is recommended. Click here to register.

Vanessa Kahen, director of WCU’s Moon Shot mission and department chair and professor of psychology, explains that Lowery-Hart was able to close equity gaps as president of Amarillo College in Texas, a position he is leaving September 30 after nine years to take the reins at ACC. Opened in 1973, ACC is recognized as a national leader in higher education for closing equity gaps, increasing completion rates, and designing advanced learning environments that set new standards.

Amarillo College is the 2023 co-recipient of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the premier recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. While he was its president, Lowery-Hart led his institution in creating a “culture of caring” targeting the removal of poverty barriers by analyzing the college’s primary demographic to better address students’ needs. A public institution, it offers associate degrees and certificates for a student population that is predominantly Latinx (44%) and white (43%) (source: US News). Among the results were a scholarship program to help incoming high school students and childcare access for students with children. The college was highlighted for these initiatives in an article in The Atlantic (June 2018) and in the documentary The Antidote on Amazon Prime.

Kahen says that Lowery-Hart will share his approach to student success to help expand our culture of caring at WCU.”

Lowery-Hart will later preside over a working dinner (invitation only) to assist WCU’s Moon Shot partners to develop plans to advance student success. In addition, he will be part of a breakfast the following morning with the University Moon Shot team of internal influencers.

Moon Shot for Equity is a WCU partnership with Delaware County Community College and EAB across the Southeastern PA region to eliminate institutional equity gaps by 2030. This work is employing evidence-based best practices to remove institutional barriers to student success.

As of spring 2023, five “goal teams,” each led by three individuals (totaling 15 co-chairs) and engaging approximately 75 faculty and staff, are focused on these areas at WCU: reforming policies and processes regarding holds on student accounts; transfer pathways; developmental course reform; the development of retention grants; and a shift toward proactive advising with technology.


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