Gateway Staff present at the White House

Kristen Smitherman presenting at the White HouseThe Gateway Community and Technical College staff who developed and are managing the $3.6 million First in the World grant, awarded in September 2014, presented project outcomes to members of the Department of Education at the White House yesterday.

Gateway was chosen as one of 12, from the 42 grant awardees, to be featured at this forum. Kristen A. Smitherman, Gateway Grants Project Manager, presented Gateway's FLEXspace Project on behalf of the college to the other grantees, Department of Education staff and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs this afternoon.

Grant co-lead Doug Penix, Gateway Associate Vice President of Academic Services, and grant evaluator Dr. Jessica Hearn, University of Kentucky Evaluation Center Director and accompanied Smitherman on the trip to Washington.

This is just the type of innovative work Gateway is known for, said Dr. Vic Adams, Gateway interim president/CEO. Im pleased that our talented faculty and staff are being recognized on the national level for the great work they do every day. The creation of these active learning environments makes college more accessible to all students.

FLEXspace, a four-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and implemented at all three of Gateway's campuses stands for FlexibleLearning and EXploration space.

FLEXspace, taking place in active learning environments and the Information Commons, was developed to encourage completion and engage all Gateway students, especially those who are most academically vulnerable, to increase success outcomes.

Gateways Active Learning Institute is showing promise in increasing student success rates and increasing social and academic integration, which translates into student retention, said grant co-lead Dr. Kerri McKenna, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.

The Gateway Active Learning Institute has trained 24 faculty across the disciplines in Active Learning pedagogy, and 10 classrooms have been converted in to Active Learning nontraditional classrooms. To date, over 10,000 student issues have been resolved at the campus Information Commons, a one-stop for all college services, since September 8, 2015.

In September of 2014, Gateway Community and Technical College was one of only 24 institutions of higher education nationwide selected to receive the very first round of the First in the World Program grant awards administered by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education.

The First in the World Grant competition sought proposals for unique and innovative strategies that would help increase national postsecondary graduation rates. Gateway proposed to integrate evidence-based strategies that, within one streamlined framework, seamlessly deliver three interventions to a target population of degree-seeking students who have at least one developmental need. Through its Flexible Learning and Exploration space (FLEXspace) project, Gateway addresses the specific challenges that community colleges face related to access, engagement and completion of underprepared, underrepresented and low-income students.