Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) announced it has become the first statewide system of higher education in the country to join the REP4 Alliance, a nationwide collegiate partnership founded by Grand Valley that invites diverse high school learners to expand their college choices and propose more equitable programs and pathways to higher education.
“CSCU seeks to advance equity and justice through educational opportunities,” CSCU President Terrence Cheng said. “As the first statewide system of public higher education to partner with REP4, we are proud to be advancing those ideals by empowering students to innovate and truly have a voice in their own education. We look forward to working with our fellow member institutions to drive positive, student-led change and improve our system of higher education as a whole.”
Other REP4 alliance partners are founding organizer and convener GVSU; Amarillo College, a community college in Texas; Boise State University, a Research II university in Idaho; Fort Valley State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in Georgia; San Diego State University, an HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) and AANAPISI (Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution) in California; and Shippensburg University, part of the state system in Pennsylvania.
REP4 stands for Rapid Education Prototyping. At regional REP4 summits by alliance partners, high school students learn design thinking principles which they use to brainstorm new ways of making higher education more equitable and accessible. The best ideas from regional summits are then developed into prototypes by partner universities to assess their effectiveness to deploy on a broader scale.
Eastern Connecticut State University will join Grand Valley and five other diverse institutions in building an alliance-wide financial literacy prototype called Money Smart Digital Studio. Western Connecticut State University plans to leverage Arts and Technology toolsets to deploy the system’s first REP4 regional summit next summer.
“CSCU is a strong addition to the REP4 Alliance and President Cheng and Provost Kathuria are passionate leaders in equity, access, and student success,” said Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella. “During the past two years, we have seen the amazing impact of REP4 on learners and educators. The Connecticut system’s energy for the movement, its desire for innovation and its determination to join in collaborative efforts to improve higher education will help broaden REP4’s reach. We’re thrilled to be expanding the alliance, particularly with the caliber and commitment of CSCU.”
In addition to new skills learned at the summits, REP4 students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships, receive stipends and participate in other programs designed to provide pathways for them to attend a REP4 partner institution.
On Sept. 22, GVSU will host the second annual virtual REP4 National Convening in conjunction with other founding alliance partners to unveil the journey of educational empowerment and possibility through REP4.