Completion by Design

What is Completion by Design?

Completion by Design is a five-year, $40 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative that works with community colleges to significantly increase completion and graduation rates. The initiative is intended to transform campuses through systemic, structural, and sustainable redesign in order to create seamless pathways for students to reach completion sooner.

Completion by Design builds upon lessons learned from previous initiatives, such as Achieving the Dream, to assist community colleges with interventions at key points where they often lose students. As part of the planning process, colleges examined their own data, identified loss points and developed strategies and programs to address them.

Integral to this initiative is the importance of building public support through the education of public policy leaders with the assistance of a statewide advisory board.  The statewide advisory board’s key responsibilities will include:

  • Providing input from the perspective of civic, business, labor, and K-16 education leaders
  • Serving as a resource for the initiative to build public support for its goals

Completion by Design is a five-year initiative with three phases:

  • Planning (12 months, ended April 30, 2012)
  • Implementation (24-30 months)
  • Scaling and Adoption (24 months)

Participating Community Colleges

Nine states were eligible to apply for the grant.  There are three colleges, which are leading the initiative in their states of Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio.  These lead colleges are called managing partners.  They are:

  • Florida — Miami Dade College
  • North Carolina — Guilford Technical Community College
  • Ohio — Sinclair Community College

Community Colleges within the Ohio Cadre:

  • Lorain County Community College, Elyria, Ohio
  • Sinclair Community College – Courseview Campus, Mason, Ohio
  • Sinclair Community College – Dayton Campus, Dayton, Ohio (Managing Partner)
  • Stark State College, North Canton, Ohio

About Ohio’s Managing Partner

Sinclair Community College (SCC), located in southwestern Ohio, is one of the largest community colleges in the state, serving approximately 42,000 students annually in college credit courses. Its central campus is in downtown Dayton with five learning centers in Eaton, Englewood, Huber Heights, Kettering, and Mason.

The Dayton community has a rich history in heavy manufacturing and is home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Demand for higher-skilled workers is increasing in local economies throughout Ohio.

Ohio’s Current Completion Strategies 

A central part of Completion by Design for Ohio’s participating colleges is increasing the number of low-income students who obtain a valuable postsecondary credential. Their work in the coming years will build on current strategies, which include:

  • Improving alignment with high schools by establishing early college high schools, College and Career Resource Centers, and dual enrollment offerings.
  • Accelerating and improving completion of basic skills with math modules, Read-Right programs and other initiatives.
  • Increasing persistence of low-income students through intensive case management and wrap-around services.
  • Partnering closely with universities to promote completion of four-year degrees.
  • Aligning with workforce development initiatives locally and statewide to improve job prospects for students.

Ohio’s Focus during the Planning Phase of the Initiative 

Each participating college organized interdisciplinary teams to align workforce needs and instruction to create student pathways and identify the specific points where students face the most obstacles to completion. Specifically, Sinclair and its partners:

  • Worked more closely with K-16 systems to establish a culture of postsecondary completion in Ohio.
  • Focused on students’ first-year experience and developmental education.
  • Aligned workforce development efforts and employers to match skills with available jobs.
  • Shared data and lessons learned with public policy leaders to increase understanding of the needs of low-income students.