Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. will serve on the Task Force on Higher Education and Opportunity alongside 37 college and university leaders across the country, according to a Tuesday release.
The task force — formed to address major challenges facing students and underserved communities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic — joins 38 organizations, representing 2.5 million students across the United States, including 501,000 Hispanic or Latino students and 319,000 Black students.
“I’m honored to be a part of such a dedicated group of higher education leaders focused on improving outcomes for our students and communities,” Stanley said an MSUToday release. “This is especially important as the pandemic has disproportionately impacted students from underserved communities. We must do everything we can to help students succeed in a post-pandemic world.”
The group will work toward meeting three key goals: preparing vulnerable students and graduates for success despite the worst recession in 50 years, partnering with local communities in an inclusive recovery and reimagining how quality and accessible higher education is delivered, according to the release.
In the first round of initiatives preparing graduates of 2021-2023 for success in the post-pandemic economy, MSU launched “My Spartan Story,” aiming to increase the number of institutions adopting cocurricular records and the number of students engaging with the platform. Over the next year, MSU and other task force members will develop initiatives toward the remaining goals, which will be available for use as templates in transforming higher education, according to the release. Cocurricular activities can include leadership programs, student employment, research positions, internships and service-learning or civic engagement opportunities, the My Story website said.
According to the task force website, lacking a record of student’s activities and accomplishments forces future employers to rely on anecdotal explanations, which often offer incomplete records to evaluate potential job candidates. By structuring a record for cocurricular and extra-curricular activities, all students, especially less advantaged students, will be allowed to share the depth of their college experiences. The Spartan Experience Record will help students reflect on and make meaning of their out-of-class learning experiences, the release said.
“The college experience is far more than your GPA, yet it can be difficult for students to articulate that potential,” Stanley said. “By creating a mechanism for students to formally document efforts outside the classroom, students can develop a more comprehensive picture of their education and skill development.”
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