UW-Parkside commits to national “Moon Shot for Equity,” joining consortium with three other regional higher education institutions

Published: October 21, 2020
By: UW-Parkside Marketing & Communications

SOMERS – The University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Carthage College, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and UWM have joined a national initiative led by education firm EAB aimed at ending equity gaps in higher education by 2030.

These institutions comprise the first regional consortium of higher education institutions to sign on to the “Moon Shot for Equity.” Parkside, Carthage, MATC, and UWM will work together and with EAB to help more underrepresented students of color and other historically underserved populations graduate from college. 

According to data compiled by the Higher Education Regional Alliance, 56 percent of white students in the seven-county Milwaukee region earned a degree or certificate within six years in 2020. Only 32 percent of Hispanic students and 20 percent of Black students completed degrees or certificates in that time frame.

Wisconsin is last in the country in the high school equity gap for Black students, and in the bottom seven of all 50 states for Hispanic students. These gaps continue into higher education.

Given the worst-in-the-nation quality of life differences among African American and white residents in Milwaukee and Racine, where better to make this commitment? 

“UW-Parkside has a history of serving under-represented minority students. Over 36 percent of our students identify as either African American, Asian, and/ or Hispanic “said Assistant Provost for Student Success DeAnn Possehl. “Our latest six-year graduation rate for underrepresented minority students of 34 percent is a historic high, but we realize that we have more work to do.”

Provost Rob Ducoffe said “when we set priorities for the 2017-2020 Academic Plan, improving student success was considered the most important goal. Our collective efforts have made the progress to date possible. Moonshot will build our capacity to do what we are already resolved to do, as an institution – equity in graduation rates.” 

As part of the Moon Shot initiative, UW-Parkside and the other institutions will receive equity-mindedness training from outside experts and implement 15 research-based best practices proven to remove systemic barriers to success. Parkside will also receive expert guidance from national Moon Shot mentors Houston GPS and Georgia State University.

“UW-Parkside’s commitment to close persistent equity gaps is unwavering, and while we have made progress over the past decade, we have more work to do,” said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. “Joining with our Milwaukee region higher education colleagues, EAB, national experts and philanthropies for the Moon Shot for Equity positions us to provide more students, especially students of color, a pathway to a university education. As a first-generation college graduate, I know the impact of higher education and now it is time to pay this forward for the next generation.”

EAB will provide schools with technology and advisory services, as well as research that will help enhance the work ongoing at each institution. Organizers hope that the Moon Shot collaboration in southeastern Wisconsin will inspire institutions in other regions of the country to band together to take part in the initiative.

The consortium will also partner with local high schools and community-based organizations to help more underserved students attend college by providing them with resources and information on how to identify best-fit universities, search for scholarships, and connect with counselors. These resources, offered through College Greenlight, will be provided free of charge.

The name of the initiative derives from another ambitious national goal. NASA’s successful moon shot more than five decades ago proved that such obstacles can be overcome by fully committing ourselves and working together in innovative ways, EAB Chief Executive Officer David Felsenthal said.

“Through the Moon Shot for Equity, regions like greater Milwaukee will confront racial inequality in college completion and at the same time, boost economic recovery in their communities by producing more college graduates,” Felsenthal said.

Visit eab.com/moonshot to learn more about the project.


Media Contact:

Debbie Ford
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
ford@uwp.edu | 262-595-2211

DeAnn Possehl
Assistant Provost for Student Success
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Possehl@uwp.edu | 262-595-2454



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