White House College Opportunity Day of Action and MSU’s STEM commitment


I was pleased to represent Michigan State University earlier this month at the second White House College Opportunity Day of Action, and to join President Obama, the First Lady, and other college and education leaders from across the country in an effort to increase student preparation for, and graduation from, college.

Those who participated in the event committed to a new action in one of four areas:  building networks of colleges focused on promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, or increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields.

MSU’s initiative is focused on helping students who aspire to STEM careers—which are so needed in the economy—to achieve their professional goals. Our commitment is designed to help students who didn’t receive the pre-college math training they need to pursue degrees and, ultimately, careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Called STEM Success, the endeavor is funded by the University and a $5 million grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. It features an innovative, multifaceted support system, with our best discipline-based education researchers, student development personnel, and technologists coming together to change the way we deliver STEM education to underprepared STEM students. With the program, MSU will work to decrease by 50 percent the difference in the STEM graduation rate between students who enter MSU prepared to begin college math and those who are unprepared in math. This should result in an increase of 100 additional STEM graduates each year, with the effect beginning within two years.

MSU looks forward to advancing the goals of not only its STEM Success initiative, but to helping our students, our state, and the country in expanding college access and attainment.