The American Association of State Colleges and Universities selected 15 institutions, including Fresno State, to participate in the recently launched Transformation Accelerator Cohort. The program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is designed to help institutions eliminate race, ethnicity and income as predictors of student success.

The inaugural cohort – selected through a highly competitive application process – includes the following AASCU institutions:

  • Albany State University (Georgia)
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • College of Staten Island CUNY
  • Fresno State
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • PASSHE/Bloomsburg University, Lockhaven University, Mansfield University (Pennsylvania)
  • SUNY College at Oswego
  • Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  • Texas A&M Kingsville
  • Prairie View A&M University (Texas)
  • Texas A&M University system
  • Texas A&M University-San Antonio
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • William Paterson University (N.J.)

Among the participants representing rural, urban and suburban areas across the country are seven Hispanic-serving Institutions (including Fresno State); three historically Black colleges and universities and Predominately Black Institutions; and three Asian American and Native American Pacific-Islander serving Institutions (also including Fresno State).

The cohort includes 120,525 students at the 15 institutions, with an average Pell grant eligibility of 48% — meaning students come from low- to medium-income households.

“The Transformation Accelerator Cohort provides resources that will sharpen Fresno State’s focus on furthering our CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 goals, and further our students’ success,” said University President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “Both their research into the best practices of other institutions and their specialized support of increased passing rates in gateway classes are critical. I’m truly glad that our University is part of this groundbreaking inaugural cohort.”

The two-year, team-based learning journey accelerates institutional transformation by providing customized support for making data-informed decisions grounded in students’ realities. Campus leaders will learn best practices to close equity gaps and achieve student success goals for Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income students.

The cohort approach involves peer-to-peer learning across institutions via in-person and virtual Student Success Academies. Participants will have access to resources, such as online modules and webinars, and receive support from subject-matter experts in data analytics, equity, student success, advising, institutional transformation and strategic and systems planning.

Each institution will assemble a campus team of key campus leaders.

“AASCU is proud to be leading the nation on postsecondary student success for America’s new majority at state colleges and universities,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “For over 50 years, AASCU has partnered with member institutions to deliver on the American promise of access, affordability and educational opportunity. The Transformation Accelerator Cohort articulates an equity imperative to help everyone see their role in ensuring success for Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income students.

The accelerator is part of an array of programs and services AASCU offers to help its members achieve student success goals.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.