The ACCEYSS Network opens its university-community resource center in San Marcos, TX, on January 21, 2021.
San Marcos, TX - On January 21st, the ACCEYSS Network hosted a grand opening of the ACCEYSS University-Community Resource Center (U-CRC) located at 174 S Guadalupe St. Suite 105, San Marcos, TX 78666. The event began with an invocation by Lauren Lowry, San Marcos native and Senior Pastor of Sozo Church at 10:30 am, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 11 to 11:30 am, and a grand opening celebration with lunch catered by Soulful Creations of San Marcos, Texas. During the event, official greetings were read from Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and proclamations were acknowledged from the State of Texas (sponsored by State Representative Erin Zwiener), Hays County (sponsored by Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe), and the City of San Marcos. The City of San Marcos has declared January 21, 2021 as the ACCEYSS Network Day.
The P2P Movement doing business as ACCEYSS Network, is a 501c3 nonprofit that serves as a coalition with a mission of providing underrepresented and underserved youth and families with access to STEM and Agriculture pathways through Entrepreneurship and the Arts (i.e., STEEAAM pathways). Board members of the ACCEYSS Network include: Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd - Founder and President (Texas State University – Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies), Dr. Dana M. García – Secretary (Texas State University – Department of Biology), Pastor Lauren Lowry (Sozo Church), Dr. Cara DiMattina Ryan (Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area), and Algie Thompson. Lydia Dobbins serves as the Program Manager.
ACCEYSS (Association of Collaborative Communities Equipping Youth for STEEAAM Success) was founded by Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd as one of 70 two-year design and development launch pilots funded by the National Science Foundation’s INCLUDES program. The outcomes of the ACCEYSS project yielded creation of the ACCEYSS Model (i.e., informal K-12 STEM curriculum framework) and initiation of the ACCEYSS Network with inaugural partners from the Greater San Marcos region. Additionally, she founded the STEEAM pathways project in rural communities with partners in Luling, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She has consolidated her efforts under the umbrella of the ACCEYSS Network to strengthen the STEEAAM workforce ecosystem in the Greater San Marcos region. As a “social edupreneur”, and an assistant professor in the Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies at Texas State University, she is transforming her research into action while creating a platform for other community-engaged STEM and agriculture researchers to offer valuable resources to the local community through the launch of the ACCEYSS U-CRC.
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The primary goal of the ACCEYSS U-CRC is to provide connections, funding, and resources for faith-based and community organizations with a shared vision of closing the STEM equity and racial wealth gap in Hays and Caldwell counties. The ACCEYSS Network invites researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, community organizers, faith leaders, industry partners, and supporters to utilize the U-CRC’s shared resources; whether it’s a training space or meeting room for their employees, a quiet office space without a long-term lease, or a place to connect with like-minded individuals striving to make a powerful impact in their community.
The ACCEYSS Network Community Resource Center is available to both members and non-members alike. To learn more about memberships, networking opportunities or to become a community member, you may visit the ACCEYSS Network website at www.acceyss.org.
President Denise M. Trauth provides updates to the university in her newsletter, From the Hill. In the Spring III 2021 Issue, the OWLS faculty member, Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd was highlighted!
Texas State University has been awarded a $1.5 million reskilling grant to help up to 1,000 former students with some college credit return to school and complete their degrees.
Texas State received the pass-through grant from the United States Department of Education's Education Stabilization Fund Program via the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
Reskilling grants to institutions will support displaced Texas workers who need to reskill or upskill to get back into the workforce and Texas students who have previously stopped out of higher education institutions without completing a postsecondary credential.
Texas State's grant is part of the Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant Program, a $46.5 million fund established to provide essential emergency educational support to students that have been most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and aid in the continuation of their education and economic recovery. It will directly support Bring Bobcats Back, a program created in 2018 to encourage students to return to Texas State and finish their degrees.
"This is a great opportunity for those who want to finish their degree," explained Todd Sherron, assistant professor of practice with the Department of Organization, Workforce and Leadership Studies (OWLS), who oversaw Texas State's grant application. "If a student has 90 hours of course credit and meets the criteria, we will provide financial assistance to them to finish their education."
More than 36 million Americans – including more than 2 million in the state of Texas – have some college experience but have not completed their degree. This challenge has significant implications for students’ financial well-being, particularly during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic: a college degree translates to an average of $1 million additional earnings over a lifetime, and college graduates are half as likely to be unemployed as those with a high school degree.
Enrollment Management at Texas State, which manages Bring Bobcats Back, has developed a list of prospective candidates by reviewing academic records to identify formerly enrolled students who completed several years of study but stopped short of earning their degree. Those prospects will be contacted and provided information about the new opportunity.
The financial aid is not just limited to those who initially attended Texas State. Those who began, but did not complete, their coursework at other universities are also eligible if they meet the program's criteria.
"I'm biased, but OWLS was really built to serve this kind of need," Sherron said. "We have accelerated pathways in the OWLS program for this type of degree completion, but all of the colleges at Texas State will be participating.
"I've seen people graduate within two to four semesters on average," he said. "That's a pretty quick degree completion timeline."
The grant strengthens Texas State's ongoing efforts to identify and reach out to former students who left the university before obtaining their degree. In 2020, the university entered into a partnership with ReUp Education to identify, engage and support the re-entry of students who have stopped out of college.
To qualify for the reskilling program, prospective returning students must be Texas residents eligible for in-state tuition as determined by the institution; have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); have financial need and are eligible for federal Title IV aid; have affirmed they were affected by COVID-19. Institutions may establish their own processes for determining COVID-19 impact; are enrolled in an eligible undergraduate or short-term workforce credential program on either a full time or part time basis; have not been enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution in the previous academic (long) semester or previous six months; and are within twelve months or 75% or more of completing their credential program.
CAEL just wrapped up its 46th annual conference and its first-ever virtual one. With the sudden pivot to online learning that swept the postsecondary space, you’re probably familiar with just how “real” the challenges of switching quickly to virtual engagement can be. Meeting them was more than worth it. Thanks to the generous support of Strada Education Network and our other sponsors, we were able to offer live access free to all CAEL members. That helped us set a new attendance record and gain several hundred new CAEL members. But despite the unprecedented circumstances of our conference this year, a longstanding tradition remained among its brightest moments: our award winners.
Adult Learner Impact Award
Finally, our Adult Learner Impact Award recognizes excellence in adult learning on an institutional level. This year, the honor went to Texas State University (TXST). Being mindful of the needs of adult learners is nothing new for TXST, a Hispanic Serving Institution. It has devoted specialized efforts to support their success since the 1970s. It’s been building on that momentum ever since.
For example, faculty recently completed enhancements to the institution’s bachelor of applied arts and sciences program outcomes, curriculum, and PLA processes. These updates are saving students thousands of dollars in textbook, tuition, and other expenses while supporting retention and greater credit hour production. These achievements were recognized by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), which presented TXST’s bachelor of applied arts and sciences program with the Malcolm Knowles Award for Outstanding Program Leadership.
Further distinguishing TXST is its department of organization, workforce, and leadership studies. The department earned two Texas Workforce Commission awards that provide additional support for PLA through the new College Credit for Heroes program. The program bridges workforce gaps faced by military students by connecting military experience, education, and training with the requirements of high-demand civilian occupations in Texas. Given our just-released research confirming the substantial, wide-ranging benefits recognizing prior learning can create for adult learners from diverse backgrounds, it’s clear that TXST’s latest enhancements can make a difference in many meaningful ways. View TXST’s acceptance video here.
Each of these award winners’ stories helps paint a picture that illustrates the vital nature of the work of the CAEL membership community. I hope you are as inspired by them as I am. Thank you for all that you do to enable the countless similar stories that are unfolding as a result of our work together.
The first annual Exceptional Research/Service in the Field Award will be awarded to Carrie Boden of Texas State University-San Marcos, in honor of her work on the IAP book series Adult Learning in Professional, Organizational, and Community Settings, which AHEA is pleased to sponsor, providing a publication outlet for many in the field.
Dr. Carrie Boden Professor and former Chair of the Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies at Texas State University. Before joining Texas State University, Dr. Boden worked extensively with undergraduate and graduate adult students in her roles as Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Master of Adult Education Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Associate Professor and and Director of the Program for Adult College Education at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Boden ’s research is primarily focused in the areas of adult learning theory and practice, including prior learning assessment, program administration, teaching and learning strategies, mentoring, and transformative learning. She has produced over 50 articles, book chapters and conference proceedings, 100 conference presentations, 18 grants and funded projects, and 15 academic books. Her work has been disseminated nationally and internationally. Dr. Boden has designed and taught courses in traditional, hybrid, and online formats, and she has developed and overseen the implementation of several online program initiatives. Dr. Boden has been recognized for her work with awards such as the Distinguished Teaching Fellowship from the Academy of Teaching and Learning Excellence at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Alpha Chi Favorite Professor, Award for Excellence in Online Teaching, and Veteran’s Alliance Above and Beyond Award from Texas State University, The Malcolm Knowles Award for Outstanding Program Leadership from the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, and the Adult Learner Impact Award from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, and the Sister Cities International Award for Technology and Innovation. In service to the profession, Dr. Boden served as Director on the Board for the Adult Higher Education Alliance for a decade, a Member-at-Large on the Board of the Commission of Professors of Adult Education, and as the series editor for Adult Learning in Professional, Organizational, and Community Settings. In her spare time, Dr. Boden practices yoga, enjoys outdoor activities, live music, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
OWLS Per Course Faculty Member, Dr. Gary Springer, is having his two works included in the "Restore Our Earth" exhibit at the Price Center Gallery. (222 W San Antonio St, San Marcos, TX 78666)
This exhibit includes his works- "Duck Family at Texas State University" and "Blue Heron over Water". See them up close! along with other wonderful creations by local artists.
Exhibit Period: April 3rd - May 22nd.
After completing both the BAAS degree and Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, OWLS Alumnus, Raul Trevino, shares his experience of his academic journey while he faced many challenges and obstacles!
Read his article HERE on LinkedIn!
The university will use the award money to support Bring Bobcats Back, a program created in 2018 to encourage students to return to Texas State and complete their degrees.
Dr. Todd Sherron, an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Organization, Workforce and Leadership Studies (OWLS) and writer of the grant application, says Bring Bobcats Back is a university-wide incentive available to all former students, from any college at the university, who meet the criteria.
“Students may be eligible to receive up to $2,500 per semester for tuition and fees until they graduate,” Sherron says. “This is [an] amazing opportunity for students to complete their degree."