The Federation for a Competitive Economy (FACE), a regional collaborative vision that began at UC Riverside, has earned a $5 million Governor’s Award for Innovation in Higher Education. It was selected as one of the top plans of the 57 submitted from around the state to improve college graduation rates in California, a committee of the California Department of Finance announced today.
Awards like the Governor’s Award for Innovation in Higher Education are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar by not only embracing the universities and schools, but the entire Riverside economy.
The Governor’s Award proposal, prepared by California State University, San Bernardino in partnership with UC Riverside, multiple Inland Empire community colleges, school districts, governments, businesses, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, is fairly straightforward:
FACE and its subcommittees are tackling the problem from two sides: make sure inland high school students are ready for college when they graduate, and increase the number of inland college students who actually earn a bachelor’s degree.
The Governor’s Award proposal, submitted by Cal State University San Bernardino President Tomás Morales and Rachel Weiss, CSUSB’s director of research of sponsored programs, sets specific benchmarks for meeting those goals by 2020:
- Use FACE and its 175 members to align educational policy and initiatives between the two counties to both improve college outcomes and keep those college graduates here, working jobs in the Inland Empire
- Reduce the number of college freshmen who need remediation classes by 20 percent by increasing college readiness at the high school level, particularly in math.
- Increase the number of bachelor degrees earned at inland universities by 15 percent
- Increase the number of students completing their bachelor’s degrees within six years by 10 percent
- Strengthen partnerships with Inland Empire industries to better align education with workforce needs, such as creating more college internship opportunities to give students a chance to better understand what employers need, and help them develop business relationships while they’re in college.
Beefing up math instruction at the high school level is a key part of the proposal, because math is one of the biggest hurdles to college completion, said Pamela Clute, a Ph.D. math instructor, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) advocate and UC Riverside’s special assistant to the chancellor.
Clute developed the FACE collaborative in 2009, at the behest of then-Chancellor Timothy P. White, who has since gone on to become president of the California State University system. UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox has continued UCR’s support for the project, and now co-chairs the FACE-IEEP Educational Council with Morales.
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