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Gates Foundation Seeks Intermediaries to Help Scale Student Success

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is seeking organizations (or networks of organizations) — including state agencies — that can help "transform" colleges and universities to boost student success. These "intermediaries for scale" will have two leading characteristics: They've figured out how to increase student success in education after high school, and they possess a track record of working across multiple institutions serving a significant number of low-income students and students of color. Those that make the cut will be awarded grants to "blueprint" their work to see how well it can accelerate and scale.

The hunt is on, according to Patrick Methvin, director of the Foundation's Postsecondary Success in the United States Program, specifically for intermediaries who can work with institutions of higher education in four areas:

  • Building out awareness of "successful and promising" strategies for transformation among campus leaders;
  • Weighing in on campus decisions related to transformation work and the support of decision-makers;
  • Providing transformation "guidance and resources for adopting and adapting, implementing, evaluating and sustaining changes in policy and practice"; and
  • Building bridges across schools and other organizations in speeding up and streamlining learning and the sharing of "promising practices."

These transformation partners will receive funding to cover 18 months of work in helping schools build their capacity "to dramatically improve student outcomes and eliminate success gaps by race and income." At the end of the blueprint phase, the Foundation said it would assess progress and accomplishments and figure out where to go from there.

Organizations that are interested in pursuing a grant need to submit a letter of interest by March 20, 2019. Up to 10 could be chosen for funding over the next several months.

To answer questions about the new program, the Foundation is hosting a series of webinars and learning events beginning on Feb. 13, 2019.

More information is available on the Foundation website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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