Community Co-Creation Session
We invited our Graduate! Network Community Members and Partners to participate in a “Network-Wide Survey” to learn how we can continue to bring valuable content and services to our members or improve in doing so. Survey respondents were invited to join us for a Network Co-Creation event to use the insights gathered from the survey to collectively design the next evolution of the Network’s offering to our community for 2023 and beyond!
Degrees When Due
Amanda Janice Roberson joined us for this highly interactive conversation where she shared findings and recommendations from Degrees When Due. Participants shared their perspectives on what most needs to happen within institutions to support adults in their postsecondary education journeys. An exciting conversation for practitioners who are working every day to directly support and advocate for adults who wish to earn a marketable credential, which more often than not includes engaging with a higher education institution.
The Art of Questioning
Constructing authentic, empowering questions is a core skill for anyone who works with others – and certainly sits at the heart of the Appreciative Advising theory-to-practice framework embraced by The Graduate! Network. But it goes further than that – the right questions can help us identify the strengths of others, support our friends and family members, and help those around us reach their full potential.
This session blended the Appreciative Advising framework into the work of asking generative, open-ended questions. Through this session, we constructed questions that you can use with the students to uncover their strengths and potential, elicit their hopes and dreams for the future, and design pathways toward their dreams.
Widen the Path
The Graduate! Network, in partnership with Higher Learning Advocates, is pleased to present a conversation about Widen The Path, a bipartisan campaign launching this Fall to promote educational equity and inclusive economic mobility. Learn about this important initiative – and how you can join the movement – in this discussion with founder Julie Peller.
The Graduate! Network is one of dozens of organizations that have already signed the pledge to #WidenThePath for today’s students. Why did we do this? Because Widen The Path speaks to what we have been doing for over a decade: campaigning for a new American learning economy that breaks down the barriers between higher learning and the workforce and creates new opportunities for all of today’s learners. And because it is what those who work with us also care about, we are thrilled to invite you to be part of this discussion!
What’s Trauma Got to Do With It?
An interactive session designed to equip practitioners with insights critical to supporting adults on their journeys. This session included information on how childhood trauma, current trauma, and historical trauma impacts our bodies, behavior, and cognitive functioning — and ultimately our relationship to education.
Activities and discussion centered on how social determinants of health are critical factors in the life course of each individual and are often the root cause of the educational and health inequities that adults in our communities face. Our expert workshop facilitators offered practical strategies to use when working with adults who have faced systemic and structural oppression and have not had the support, resources, and strategies to help them overcome these barriers, particularly during this time of COVID, gun violence, and racial unrest.
Journey with Joi: Advocacy in Action
Every Comebacker deserves to have someone who believes in them—and as a Navigator, you play an integral role in your Comebacker’s degree completion journey. Join us to discuss what makes a good advocate, and to workshop practical solutions so you can confidently, effectively, and proactively advocate for adult learners. We will learn from each other (the experts in the room!) to equip all of us with a bigger toolbox to support Comebackers to and through to their goals!
Sustainability Session: Articulating Impact & Compelling Stories
Our first Sustainability Session focused on the foundation elements of any resource development: articulating impact and compelling stories. Over the course of the fall, we’ll explore in three follow-on sessions how to grow support for the work from higher education institutions, employers, civic leaders, and foundations.
Dr. Diana Cabori, managing director of ProjectAttain!, is serving as community advisor to this series. The content is being developed by TGN Board Chair John Colborn and Co-Founder/CEO Sallie Glickman. Both have deep experience in successfully working with a range of funders, and John himself was previously COO of a major national philanthropy. You can read more about John here and Sallie here. TGN Chief Strategy Officer Bridgett Strickler is also contributing to the series.
Michigan Reconnect “Show & Tell”
Nearly 4.1 million Michigan residents who are 25 or older do not have a college degree while many jobs today require a degree beyond a high school diploma. How might a state tackle a skills gap?
If you are Governor Gretchen Whitmer, you announce the state’s first postsecondary attainment goal (or ‘Sixty by 30’), and, with strong bipartisan support of the legislature, create a signature initiative called Michigan Reconnect. Launched in February 2021, to date this navigation/community college scholarship program hybrid has seen over 100,000 applicants and assisted nearly 20,000 adults to enroll. But that is just the beginning, because an issue this big takes a village (or in this case, a lot of committed partners) to solve!
Michigan is home to long standing affiliate Detroit Drives Degrees and new affiliate Diploma Equity Project. And then there is the College Completion Corps that is under the Michigan College Access Network.
Join us as we explore the journey to Michigan Reconnect, how the pieces and partners are connecting on behalf of the state’s adults, and what we can all learn from their experiences in building a more comprehensive and connected ecosystem to support adults to and through to a degree.
Our guides for this session will be Jayshona Hicks and Ava Attari, the team that manages the Office of Sixty by 30’s programs, including Michigan Reconnect. We are also lining up some special guests to share their own perspectives on effective public/private/institutional partnerships and practices that keep adults – and their aspirations – at the center.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness & Fresh Start
A guided tour, led by Rome Busa and David Burke from College Now Greater Cleveland, into the intricacies of public sector loan forgiveness that will equip all practitioners with tools to help potential adult learners remove a critical barrier to re-enrollment.
100 percent of our Lightbulb readers who responded to a recent poll were interested in student loan forgiveness and two-thirds said they needed more information. We are indeed fortunate to have experts in our network who are tracking this issue and doing a fantastic job of helping adults retire old debt so they can start fresh!
Join our friends Rome and David, along with host Sallie Glickman, to learn how they work their magic in Cleveland and strategies to import it to wherever you are in the country.
Journey with Joi – Building & Nurturing Virtual Communities
The last two+ years have demonstrated that we can accomplish a great deal through virtual collaboration. But can we really replicate virtually the connectivity that occurs naturally when we occupy the same physical space?
Journey with Joi is a series dedicated to nurturing the community of professionals who support the educational trajectories of adults across the nation. So it is only natural that our first session was devoted to co-designing and learning together how we can create an optimum environment for networking, engagement, and ongoing support.
The goal: create a community that feeds our collective souls and spirits – and take away tools that you can use in your daily work.
We hope you enjoyed starting this journey with your guide Joi McAtee and her guest Sallie Glickman for this inaugural session.
Special Session – Credit for Prior Learning
Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) can be a powerful tool in support of degree and credential attainment. At its best, it has the potential to accelerate time to completion and lower tuition costs for adults. Unfortunately, those on the front lines of helping adults navigate back to college often experience challenges in leveraging this tool for those they are assisting.
In partnership with the American Council on Education, the nation’s leader and a key influencer in the world of Credit for Prior Learning, we are excited to launch an effort to elevate the experiences from across our network and the voices of the adults you serve to inform improvements to the CPL and remove impediments to its application for returning students.
Director Professional Learning Community
For this meeting, there will be a two-part discussion. First, we want to explore how our communities are working with their higher education partners and schools, including solutions communities bring to partners and how to support higher ed institutions working with Comebackers. We recommend listening to this recent news story on some of the current issues in higher education.
The second discussion will be around expanding community outreach, including successes and challenges communities face, and unique approaches in outreach. We will be using small breakout groups for these discussions and look forward to learning from one another.
Navigator Professional Learning Community:
Introduction to Appreciative Advising Workshop
This engaging and interactive virtual workshop facilitated by the Florida Atlantic University Office of Appreciative Education is designed to help you learn how to build effective relationships with your students! At The Graduate! Network, we are adopting this fully student-centered and proven Appreciative Advising Theory-to-Practice Framework to help us to increase student retention and improve student success rates. As Navigators, we all contribute to our students’ success and this workshop will be time well spent to introduce us to Appreciative Advising strategies and techniques, and to inspire and empower us to put this transformative framework into immediate practice! During this interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to the six phases of Appreciative Advising and will learn through lecture as well as engagement in conversations with colleagues and reflective activities.