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K-12 Outreach Hub

Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)

The Center for Educational Outreach (CEO) continues to serve as the campuswide hub for K-12 outreach. CEO leads a coordinated university-level strategy for educational outreach and engagement and significantly increases both the capacity and effectiveness of U-M faculty, campus outreach professionals and student groups by providing consulting, training and programs to equip them to work with K-12 communities including schools, youth and college-access organizations.

Progress update

During Year Five, CEO responded to COVID-19 by accelerating projects, amplifying efforts and piloting initiatives and tools to engage virtually with U-M campus colleagues and Michigan K-12 students, with a focus on those historically underrepresented in higher education and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We prioritized the Center’s work and made significant progress in advancing four key areas: (1) supporting communities of practice, (2) developing infrastructure and tools to support outreach, (3) building capacity and consulting and (4) delivering direct service to schools and students. 

Fostering Communities of Practice

In Year Five, CEO pivoted to serve its communities of practice in a virtual format and also created an online resource library. In the process, we gained insight into optimal strategies for youth outreach and engagement across campus, shared best practices to increase student educational access and success and spotlighted the work of U-M colleagues. 

  • University Outreach Council (UOC) – The Council hosted eight virtual events and served over 325 members in 152 units, representing a 28% membership increase from the prior year. UOC also helped strengthen campus units and their outreach by connecting them with thoughtful, sustainable and adaptable resources from 45 programs and speakers.
  • Faculty Forum on Outreach and Engagement (FF) – With over 560 faculty and staff members, FF creates a space to network, build community and share information. This year, we hosted five virtual events on timely topics; partnered with Latinx school administrators in southwest Detroit; showcased the outreach efforts of U-M’s STEM faculty; conferred with leaders from four foundations in Detroit; learned about mental health and resilience for Black youth with Dr. Enrique Neblett; and collaborated with the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) on technology trends and resources for faculty.
  • Michigan Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference (PCC) – In November 2020, CEO supported the 12th annual PCC, hosted, virtually, by Michigan State University. This year’s conference attracted more than 250 outreach professionals, and preparation for the 13th annual conference is underway in collaboration with MSU, Bowling Green State University, Grand Valley State University and 15 other public and private institutions. 

Developing Outreach Infrastructure

In Year Five, CEO partnered with the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) in launching three key projects to increase our impact across the state of Michigan. We view these projects as long-term digital complements to our in-person programming: 

  • COLLEGE MADE – CEO collaborated with CAI, using their Gradecraft tool to create a sustainable and gamified digital guide for completing college applications. This pilot launched in August and included 125 students from four high schools.
  • ECOACH – Another CAI tool leveraged this year was Ecoach, email software and a user-friendly dashboard designed to guide seniors and juniors in their college application and decision-making process. Launched in January, this initiative serves over 2,000 high school students in 14 high schools. 
  • VIRTUAL WOLVERINE EXPRESS (WE) – In partnership with CAI, Wolverine Express U-M faculty and staff VIPs piloted the “Virtual Wolverine Express,” featuring video highlights of career options and advice on college access, readiness and success for our MCAC schools.

Consulting/Capacity Building

CEO continued to host outreach consultations for faculty, staff and students in 17 schools and colleges and over 33 central units. Through Project Inspire, in collaboration with the Ginsberg Center, we supported more than 20 student organizations in their outreach efforts through training and funding. To support meaningful faculty outreach, CEO also continues to fund faculty fellows and help grow its community of practice through our faculty forums. 

Year Five was marked by new partnerships with CAI, Ginsberg, Michigan Medicine, ITS and other campus units. We also introduced new online tools that include a resource library, offering video and PDF guides on how to engage with students virtually and accessibly. In addition, CEO established a sustainable partnership with Children on Campus and ITS to assure that all virtual programs support long-term success and safety for minors, and to onboard new virtual versions of all K-12 campus programming. In collaboration with CEO, ITS hosted three Canvas training sessions specifically designed for K-12 programs. This partnership will continue with the development of virtual programs post-COVID. 

Direct Service

To support MCAC, College Day/GEAR UP programs and other external partners, every CEO staff member worked to develop remote experiences for students in partnership with the Center for Academic Innovation. These included virtual campus visits and lab tour videos. In all, we hosted more than 30 virtual campus visits for 500+ students and offered virtual college advising for our 14 partner high schools, provided by the MCAC program. A federal GEAR UP grant enabled us to expand our team and deliver college-access programming to a cohort of ~1,000 current 7th grade students through their first year of college.

  • Now in its first year at CEO, GEAR UP is making a sustained impact on schools by engaging students and their families in the middle grades and supporting them through high school and beyond.
  • Michigan College Advising Corps (MCAC) placed recent U-M graduates in 14 underserved high schools across the state to work as full-time college advisors, with the goal of increasing the number of low-income, first-generation and otherwise underserved students entering and completing higher education. 
  • Campus Visits, a program for students from underserved schools, launched virtual tours that engaged over 500+ students through more than 30 campus visits. This included special tours for Wolverine Pathways students and the student organization SACNAS. 
  • The Watson A. Young Scholarship enables Michigan middle and high school students whose families make less than $65K to participate in summer programs at UM-Ann Arbor. In Year Five, 13 of these scholarships were awarded.
  • In partnership with OEM/OUA, CEO supported various initiatives aimed at building a more diverse incoming class: identifying students to participate in the Student to Student Interactions program; developing virtual campus visits with a focus on DEI and social justice; and helping produce a mailer on DEI for all accepted students. 

Responsibility: Center for Educational Outreach