The dream of attending and graduating from college is one in which many learners within Northwest Indiana attain to, but seldom reach. In fact, Indiana finds itself currently with a 33% college graduation rate, much lower than the national average of 60%. As a result, many schools in Indiana have joined together to see what they can do to raise that number to a level we can all be proud of. To do this, Calumet College of St. Joseph has partnered with a number of national agencies and initiatives to keep the dream of going to college alive and well within Northwest Indiana.
“It’s quite the audacious goal,” explains Dr. Joi F. Patterson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Operating Officer at Calumet College of St. Joseph. “College is something that sits out in front of them, but many people simply are not sure how to attain it. We find that the two populations showing the greatest opportunity for the future are via the targeting of both the adult and Latino population of learners. We want to be here to essentially show them the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Indeed, targeting the fastest growing population of Latinos and the largest population of Adult Learners seems to prove as the key to success for the future. As the host of a Latino conference last year, over 500 students and parents joined together for a full day of activities to share the ways in which a college education could be within their reach. “We want them to know exactly the best way to navigate themselves through college,” remarks Dr. Patterson, who partnered with the METAS (Motivate, Educate, Graduate, Achieve and Dream program) to put on the well attended conference. “It was during that day that I am confident we were able to influence a number of students in attendance who, up until that point, might have not otherwise thought about even going to college.”
Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) is a small, family-oriented, four-year college offering master's, bachelor's, and associate's degrees as well as certificate programs. The school serves a diverse student population that represents the Calumet area and their small class sizes enhance the learning process and provide personal attention from faculty. The school also recently partnered with the Lumina Foundation, a nationwide organization also committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college. In fact, Lumina is the nation’s largest foundation dedicated exclusively to increasing students’ access to and success in postsecondary education. Their mission is currently defined by Goal 2025, an initiative to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
“We are trying in every way possible to remove all of the obstacles for them to return to school and continue their education,” explains Dr. Peterson. “Calumet College believes that real-world experience is critical to a student’s career development and success. To that end, the university supports a wide range of out of classroom experiences, collectively known as experiential learning. Students get involved through classes with projects in the communities which help to build their academic, professional etiquette, and networking skills.”
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Calumet College of St. Joseph
2400 New York Ave.