Nov 16, 2021
In Part VII of our landmark series on rural higher education and workforce development, produced in collaboration with the Ascendium Education Group, Michelle explores a key issue for rural communities — building transfer and career pathways for rural learners with two experts in the field: Dr. Erica Orians and Dr. Lia Wetzstein. Orians is Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association. In her role, Orians supports Michigan’s 28 community colleges in their efforts to improve equitable student outcomes while emphasizing the linkages between policy, practice, and research including rural colleges that serve vibrant communities across the state. The MCCA has helped lead several statewide transfer initiatives in Michigan including the Michigan Transfer Agreement, the Michigan Transfer Network, and the MiTransfer Pathways. Dr. Wetzstein is the Director of Community College Research Initiatives (CCRI) at the University of Washington. She engages in education equity research on postsecondary education reform, vertical transfer, STEM education, and community college outcomes. She leads CCRI’s equity agenda to enhance degree attainment and living wage careers for low-income learners and minoritized students. The discussion involves important issues in transferring between colleges; lessons learned from the pandemic; a STEM transfer partnership project; and improving rural student transfer success in the rural space. This episode and the entire eight-part series is sponsored by the Ascendium Education Group. For more information, visit ascendiumphilanthropy.org.