On June 10, 2015, InsideTrack president and co-founder, Kai Drekmeier presented to the Oregon House Committee on Higher Education, Innovation, and Workforce Development to inform the Committee’s discussion of free community college and other potential strategies to achieve the 40/40/20 goal by 2025. Also joining the session were Dave King, Associate Provost of the Oregon State University Extended Campus, Karen Sullivan-Vance, Director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center at Western Oregon University, and Jesse Poole, Student Success Specialist at Western Oregon University.
The Committee recognizes that the barriers to improving college attainment extend beyond students’ ability to pay for school. As such, the discussion focused on the importance of supporting students in building the habits, skills, and academic mindsets that lead to long-term success and helping institutions implement a process of continuous improvement.
Mr. Drekmeier was invited to speak on InsideTrack’s work over the last 15 years supporting students and institutions in improving outcomes. Specifically, his comments focused on three main areas:
- Creating pathways to employment from high school and college
- Improving community colleges’ performance and productivity
- Getting adults with some college credit to obtain a credential
He described InsideTrack’s approach to student coaching, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse as one of the most impactful and cost-effective means of improving college student persistence and completion (view a PDF of this review from What Works Clearinghouse). He also highlighted InsideTrack’s Capacity Building programs, which support institutions, including community colleges in building out and optimizing their student support functions.
Dave King, whose institution partnered with InsideTrack emphasized the value to institutions of working with outside partners in their efforts to increase attainment rates. A quote from Mr. King:
“We need to partner with the InsideTracks of the world – with third-party providers who provide a very specific capability. The only way were going to be successful is to work closely and collaboratively across those lines.”
Chairman Reed concluded the session by thanking Mr. Drekmeier and saying, “We’re having a really productive and good conversation this legislature about the concept of free community college, and part of that includes making sure that the students who might take advantage of that have the support they need. Your services could be really important to that effort.”
Mr. Drekmeier and others from InsideTrack will be continuing state-level conversations in Oregon and beyond to explore innovative public-private partnerships aimed at equipping students for success in college and beyond.