Degrees When Due

Can you imagine a future where every institution is equipped to support adults in their postsecondary journey? Our friends at the Institute for Higher Education Policy and partners across 23 states and at nearly 200 colleges and universities dedicated to systemic improvements to ensure students with some college who had not yet earned a degree had a path to completion.  You can learn more about the project here.

On November 7,  IHEP’s Director of Research and Policy Amanda Janice Roberson and Dr. Kate Mahar, who leads innovation and strategic initiatives at Shasta College, joined us to talk about Degrees When Due, which you can learn more about in Lighting The Path and the Degree Reclamation Playbook

From listeners to teachers.

The Graduate! Network is all about elevating the voices of those with lived experience, and so attendees shifted from learners to teachers as the session progressed. They were challenged with the following question:

If you could wave a magic wand and do one thing to make all higher ed institutions more supportive of adults, what would it be? 

A rich discussion ensued as Amanda, Kate, and attendees explored topics as diverse as training faculty to effectively teaching adults; human centered design strategies that elevate the voice of adults in delivery design; a total assessment of all the “exclusions” encountered by adult students for grants, scholarships and other funding; clarity and equity in policies undergirded by flexible practice; the deficit language that is persistently used to describe adult learners; support for adult students residing in rural areas and more. 

The Graduate! Network is excited to be in partnership with IHEP to lift up the priorities as defined by practitioners who see the challenges experienced by adults every day. Stay tuned as this work continues to evolve. In the meantime, you can view the session and pursue the materials in the Programming section of our website

Kim Lowe Sawyer, Comebacker and Doctoral Candidate: Contribute to her Research

Those who attended the Degrees When Due session had an extra-special treat: our friend and inspiration Kim Lowe Sawyer popped in to learn and contribute. 

As some of you may know, Kim started on her journey in the early days of the Graduate movement and quickly went on to earn her AA, BA, and MA. She is now working on her doctorate, and will soon be living her dream of transforming the campus experience for adults across the country. AND YOU CAN HELP.

Kim is looking for adult students, graduates who attended college as adults, and faculty/professional staff who are open to sharing thoughts and experiences on social integration of adult students in higher education. Participants will be asked to complete an on-line survey and participate in a 45-minute virtual interview.  

To participate, faculty and professional staff must be at a four-year, brick-and-mortar institution. For students and graduates, they must be first-generation students who are attending or attended a bricks-and-mortar institution. Kim is looking for students/graduates who, at the time of enrollment/reenrollment, were 25 years or older head of their household, working full-time and designated as a commuter.  

For more information, contact: Kimberly Lowe, Holy Family University Doctoral Candidate, at or text/call: 215-531-3901. 

Please consider forwarding this information to those in your networks who might be interested in contributing to this important research – inspired by Kim’s experiences (and the challenges she encountered) as an adult student. You can download the flier about the study here.

If you want to learn more about Kim, and her amazing journey, listen (or relisten) to “The Banner Lady” – episode one of our podcast, Moved By Degrees. Eva Gamez and Craig Toombs – the stars of the subsequent episodes – will reinforce the magic that happens when we light the path for all!

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