SMC Receives $2 Million State Award for Innovation in Higher Education

​​​ Santa Monica COllege $2 Million Award Santa Monica College has won a $2 million Award for Innovation in Higher Education from the State of California Department of Finance to develop innovative technology tools for student success in partnership with Arizona State University. SMC was one of 14 California community colleges and community college districts to win these awards.

Partnership with Arizona State University to Develop Technology Tools for Student Success

April 5, 2017

SANTA MONICA, CA—Santa Monica College (SMC) is pleased to announce that—in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU)—it has won a $2 million Award for Innovation in Higher Education to develop innovative technology that increases completion rates and ultimately makes college more affordable. SMC was one of 14 California community colleges and community college districts that won the awards—totaling $25 million—from the State of California Department of Finance. The announcement was made on Monday by The Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education.

“Santa Monica College is a forward-thinking, student-centered community of learners and innovators, so we are extremely excited about developing streamlined academic pathways—ensuring that all students are provided clear ways to navigate toward their goals, whether that be a career or transfer to a four-year university,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “Having had early success, we know this funding will help SMC institute pathways more widely to keep students moving forward—from the moment they arrive at the college. This award from the California Department of Finance will make a tremendous difference for so many students and for SMC faculty, too.”

Santa Monica College will use the $2 million award in collaboration with ASU to implement a redesign of MyEdPlan—an award-winning educational planning tool developed by SMC—to convert it into a highly-developed interface that will help students navigate their way to academic success. ASU has had great success in using new technology to improve the number of students who successfully achieve their academic goals in a timely manner.

“We are pleased to stand with Santa Monica College in efforts to boost student opportunity and educational excellence through a partnership to enhance the design of their already recognized educational planning tool, MyEdPlan,” stated Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow. “This planning tool will produce more effective, personalized, and meaningful advising experiences for students and has the potential to serve as a model for other community colleges.”

Dr. Georgia Lorenz, SMC Vice President of Academic Affairs, added that the college is “so fortunate” to partner with ASU. “ASU has been selected as the most innovative university in the country for the past two years and that innovation is evident in the programs and tools they have developed that have had a direct impact on student success,” said Dr. Lorenz.  "We look forward to our ongoing partnership with them to benefit SMC students.”

ASU will assist SMC in developing technology tools for the community college environment, including online major maps, career advising applications, and other features to be personalized to each student’s goals.

“I extend my congratulations to all of the winning districts and colleges for earning this prestigious and well-deserved award,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “Boosting completion rates and reducing college costs are among the highest priorities for all three higher education systems in California. The schools recognized today are leading the way when it comes to making these twin goals a reality for this state.”

California’s 2016-17 state budget includes the $25 million for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education program. This year’s awards recognized California districts and colleges that help reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees and credentials, reduce the total cost of attendance for students, or do both.

A committee consisting of the state’s director of finance, four members selected by California Governor Jerry Brown, an appointee of the state Senate Committee on Rules and an appointee of the Speaker of the State Assembly reviewed the applications and selected the winning campuses.

For more information—including the complete list of winners as well as applications submitted for the awards—please visit: the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education website.

Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

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