LONGMEADOW, Mass., Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-seven colleges and universities from the 37-member Women's College Coalition (WCC) met at Bay Path University from September 16 to the 18 to discuss new and innovative learning models for women in all ages and stages in their lives. In attendance were presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and directors of teaching and learning with technology, among others, from across the country and Canada.
The gathering, Expanding the Reach of Women's Colleges, was sponsored and led by Bay Path University President Carol Leary and the staff from The American Women's College, the first all-online bachelor's degree program for adult women. The funding and support for Expanding the Reach of Women's Colleges was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"As women's colleges, we are meeting at an important time in our country," states President Leary. "From our beginnings, women's colleges have shared a singular mission and purpose—to educate, empower and advance women to lead meaningful and successful lives. Today, that is more important than ever. Women throughout our nation, and the world, are and will be critical players in developing strong communities and contributing to economic growth and vitality. Our goal was to explore innovative and impactful collaborations to insure we provide a quality education that is accessible, affordable, and achievable."
Among the many topics, The American Women's College presented the Social Online Universal Learning (SOUL) model. The revolutionary SOUL platform has earned numerous accolades as a leading-edge model combining technology with instruction and content that fits the needs and learning styles of individual students. In 2014, SOUL was one of only 24 institutions in the U.S. to receive a FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) "First in the World" grant from the U.S. Department of Education; the inaugural Digital Learning Innovation Award in 2016 funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Program and administered through the Online Learning Consortium; the Lumina Foundation LiftEd Prize in 2017; and most recently, it was selected as a top 25 semi-finalist for the Reimagining Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Education Department's Office of Education Technology.
"The American Women's College has built an exciting model for enabling more women to graduate from college, in an age where a college degree is increasingly a prerequisite for wellbeing and social mobility," said Sharon Davies, Provost of Spelman College. "It is an honor to think with other women's colleges across the country about ways to expand access to the academic experiences and credentials that improve women's lives."
Based on projections by the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2025, half of the women in the United States between the ages of 14 and 25—women who are approaching or of college age—will be women of color. Traditionally, these women have experienced some of the greatest barriers to enrolling in college or attaining a college degree. Expanding online baccalaureate and graduate degrees for these and other women may be one way to ensure that the complexity of women's lives and responsibilities do not interfere with their dreams.
The next step for Expanding the Reach of Women's Colleges is to convene another meeting to discuss concrete action steps for collaboration and how to secure funding for additional efforts.
Please contact us to arrange interviews with the following:
President Carol Leary, Bay Path University (MA)
Amanda Gould, Chief Administrative Officer, The American Women's College /
Bay Path University (MA)
Carole Chabries, Dean, Adult Learning and New Initiatives, Alverno College (WI)
Sharon Davies, J.D., Provost and VP of Academic Affairs, Spelman College (GA)
Sarah Kottich, Executive Vice President of Operations and Planning, College of St. Mary (NE)
Julia Chinyere Oparah, Provost and Dean of Faculty, Mills College (CA)
Melody Blake, Provost and Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs,
Wesleyan College (GA)
About Bay Path University
Bay Path University was founded in 1897. With locations in Longmeadow (main), East Longmeadow (Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center), Springfield (MA), Sturbridge (MA), and Concord (MA), Bay Path's innovative program offerings include traditional undergraduate degrees for women, The American Women's College on-ground and online, the first all-women, all-online accredited bachelor's degree programs in the country; over 25 graduate programs for women and men; and Strategic Alliances, offering professional development courses for individuals and organizations. Bay Path's goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.
Director of Communications
SOURCE Bay Path University