Thrive College Access Learning Series

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Thrive College Access Learning Series

The Thrive College Access Learning Series is a monthly series or workshops designed to help practitioners, counselors, teachers and advocates understand the current college access landscape in Tennessee. Designed and offered in partnership with the Tennessee College Access and Success Network, the Learning Series will equip attendees with knowledge, tools and skills to understand barriers to college access for students of color and students from low-income families. Attendees will learn how to examine their current practices, understand current policies and systems that impact college-going for students, and deepen their advocacy skills on this critical issue. The series will feature national and local experts, and will include pre-reading materials to provide context and depth. Register today for any or all of the sessions!

Learn more about our work to increase access to post-secondary with our Thrive Fellows and our Thrive Community of Practice.

February Seminar | A6 Framework with Dr. Jack Schmit

Research points to 6 components of student success. Participants will learn how to own their organization’s component and how to identify, organize and mobilize partners to help achieve the other five.

March Seminar | The Real Cost of College

The details of college costs can be overwhelming, and they are further complicated by confusing and complex aid and scholarship applications and programs. Join Bob Obrohta, Executive Director of the TN College Access and Success Network, as he walks through how to interpret the real costs of college and how to advocate for special circumstances for students.

April Seminar | Using Data to Inform College Access Decisions with Bill DeBaun

Data-driven decisions can lead to dramatic changes, but what trustworthy data do we use? How do we find it? What does each piece of data reflect about my school/community? Participants will learn reliable data sources and how to analyze data points to inform practice.

Speaker: Bill DeBaun, Senior Director of Data and Strategic Initiatives – National College Attainment Network.

May Seminar | Federal and State Policy with Wendy Blackmore & Carrie Warick-Smith

Federal and state policies can have positive and negative influences over college and career success. As practitioners, we know certain policies need “edits” and others need to be created. Participants will be provided an overview of advocacy practices to implement at the state and federal level.

Speakers: Wendy Blackmore, Director of Operations – Tennessee College Access & Success Network & Carrie Warick-Smith, Vice President, Public Policy – The Association of Community College Trustees

June Seminar | Partnerships with Higher Education to Increase Student Success with Dr. Eric Stokes with

Higher Education Institutions can form intentional and productive partnerships with K12 schools, encouraging college and career success before students set foot on a college campus. Participants will be provided and overview of successful partnerships and learn how to establish K12 and higher education partnerships in their communities and with their organizations.

Speaker: Dr. Eric Stokes, Assistant Vice Provost Strategic Enrollment Management – The University of Memphis

August Seminar | College Student Development Theory with Bob Obrohta

Nationally, 1 in 4 college students do not return after their freshman year. College Student Development Theory helps us understand the growth and development students are making during this time in their lives and provides us with ways to help guide them as they build their identity.

Speaker: Bob Obrohta, Executive Director, Tennessee College Access and Success Network

September Seminar | Role of Higher Education in Student Success with Adam Green, EdD

What role do colleges and universities have in overall student success? Is it limited to students on their campus? Does their mission stretch beyond those they enroll? Participants will hear how one university is actively working within its community to ensure all students succeed.

Speaker: Adam Green, EdD., Secretary of the Board of Trustees – East Tennessee State University

October Seminar | Higher Education Success – Focus on strategies to increase persistence, retention, completion with DeVon Wilson

Getting in is one thing. Completing is quite another. Participants will hear how universities develop supports designed to help students succeed while in college. What is working and what have we learned?

Speaker: DeVon Wilson, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the College of Letters & Science – University of Wisconsin-Madison.

November Seminar | Systems Change in K12 with Khalilah M. Harris

What do we mean by systems change? Attendees will examine what systems change looks like and how to expand access to opportunity through an equity lens in community organizing, education, education policy, youth advocacy, and building an inclusive workforce.

Speaker: Khalilah M. Harris, Managing Director – Center for American Progress.

Hosted in partnership with

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