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Achieving the Dream conference serves as learning platform for South African education leaders

Education

The Kresge Foundation has annually sponsored a delegation of South African higher education officials to attend the nation’s largest community college reform conference, Achieving the Dream, to learn and share ideas with American leaders on community college reform efforts. The 2016 delegation was Kresge’s largest ever; 25 South Africans spent the week of Feb. 22 in Atlanta with more than 2,000 community college leaders to build knowledge and improve student completion rates at the conference.

“Bringing together leaders from both continents to discuss these issues can be transformative for administrators, and more importantly students, on both sides.” – William Moses, managing director, Kresge Education Program.

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Reception at the Center for Civil and Human Rights The Kresge Foundation hosted a dinner reception on Feb. 24 at the Center for Civil and Human Rights with attendees from Achieving the Dream, Georgia State University and the South African delegation. Pictured are Georgia State University President Mark Becker; William Moses, Kresge Foundation managing director, Education Program; and Diane Grayson, professor and director with the South African Council on Higher Education.

On Monday, Kresge’s Education team hosted the South African delegation on a site visit to Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta to see firsthand how the institution has become a national leader in its use of data analytics. Georgia State’s innovative use of data, coupled with its deployment of other student success supports, has enabled the university to eliminate the achievement gaps commonly found between students of differing race or family income.

“Low-income and underrepresented students in the U.S. share so many common challenges with their counterparts in South Africa,” said William Moses, Kresge’s Education Program managing director. “Bringing together leaders from both continents to discuss these issues can be transformative for administrators and more importantly, students, on both sides. I know everyone left Atlanta feeling inspired and ready to bring new solutions to their campuses that will lead to better outcomes for students.”

The conference offered more than 50 instructive sessions for community college leaders including improving teaching and learning, redesigning developmental education and improving student advising. On Wednesday, leaders from Achieving the Dream, Georgia State and Kresge also shared reflections over dinner at Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights.

“For all the presentations this morning and our sessions yesterday, the one abiding message I’ve come across is a deep, profound caring for the well-being of students,” said Norman Duncan, University of Pretoria deputy vice chancellor. “We all want students to be successful for the well-being of the country.”

Since 2010 a total of 81 academic leaders from universities and nonprofits representing about half of the universities in South Africa have attended Achieving the Dream through Kresge’s support.

America Needs Talent presentation Kresge Foundation staff members attended a presentation by Lumina Foundation President & CEO Jamie Merisotis about America’s need to focus on talent at the Achieving the Dream conference in February. From left: Caroline Altman Smith, Kresge Foundation deputy director, Education Program; Merisotis; William Moses, Kresge Foundation managing director, Education Program; Ari Simon, Kresge Foundation vice president, chief program and strategy officer; and Rebecca Villarreal, Kresge Foundation program officer, Education Program.
Center for Civil and Human Rights Members of the South African delegation enjoy a dinner reception in Atlanta at the Center for Civil and Human Rights hosted by The Kresge Foundation and Achieving the Dream on Feb. 24, 2016.
Tour of Morehouse College A sophomore from Morehouse College, an all-male Historically Black College and University in Atlanta, leads Kresge Foundation staff members and South African delegates on a tour across the campus.
South African-led session at Achieving the Dream Leaders from South African higher education institutions hosted a standing room-only session on improving teaching and learning assessments at the 2016 Achieving the Dream conference in Atlanta. From left: Marietjie Potgieter, associate professor from the University of Pretoria; Nomthandazo (Thandi) Gwele, professor, deputy vice chancellor at the Durban Institute of Technology and Siyaphumelela project lead; and Diane Grayson, professor and director, institutional audiets, QEP coordinator Council on Higher Education.
South Africans, Kresge visit to Georgia State On February 22, 2016, The Kresge Foundation hosted 25 delegates from South African universities and others attending the Achieving the Dream conference on a learning trip to Georgia State University. The group explored Georgia State’s use data analytics and student success efforts to close all achievement gaps commonly found between students of differing race or family income.
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