SRJC, UniversityNow form new learning partnership
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By Designing developmental courses to prepare students for college level is goal  December 27, 2012 11:29 am

UniversityNow, a social venture committed to transforming higher education, has partnered with Santa Rosa Junior College as part of the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) Wave IIIB grant program.
The partnership is, in part, focused on a project to design developmental courses to support student readiness for college level work.
A selection of students who need more preparation in the areas of math, reading, writing and online learning will be allowed to take as many of these courses as they can complete in one year at no cost.
Additionally, students who have earned an Associate Degree in Business from Santa Rosa Junior College, but who cannot enroll at a four-year state institution largely because of capacity constraints, will be provided scholarships to attend schools operated by UniversityNow – Patten University, which is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and New Charter University, which is nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.
This opportunity will provide a pathway for Santa Rosa graduates to complete the last two years of their Bachelor’s degree program online.
“After a national search for the right community college partner for the NGLC research project, we selected Santa Rosa Junior College because of their extraordinarily talented leadership and faculty, as well as their shared commitment to better serve students,” said Gene Wade, CEO of UniversityNow. “We hope the results of our collaboration can demonstrate to others public colleges can partner with innovative new models in order to improve college readiness and degree completion outcomes, while increasing access and affordability.”
 Once the model of higher education in the United States, California’s community college system has been beleaguered by severe budget cuts amid rising demand for higher education. This created a wait list of more than 600,000 students who were unable to access the classes they needed in the fall of 2011.
The partnership between Santa Rosa Junior College and UniversityNow is designed to allow both institutions to collaborate on addressing some of the most pressing challenges in higher education facing the country.
Also, the partnership brings new opportunities for non-traditional students in California. The American Institutes for Research will independently evaluate and document the project’s outcomes, which could have important implications for future partnerships between private and public higher education entities.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with New Charter University. Given the innovative features of their model and the cutting edge technology UniversityNow has developed, we view this as a unique opportunity for Santa Rosa Junior College to develop programs that address the challenges our students face,” said Santa Rosa Junior College President Frank Chong. “We look forward to developing new programs to support incoming students who are enrolled in developmental courses and working toward meeting college level academic standards,  as well as the students who’ve completed their Associate Degree and cannot access affordable four-year degree programs.”
As an NGLC grantee, New Charter University was recognized for developing a breakthrough model for online and blended programs that could significantly improve post-secondary access, persistence, completion, and affordability for students, without compromising the quality of learning outcomes.
For more information, on the Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave IIIB grant, go to www.nextgenlearning.org/wave-iii-b.

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