HERA Partner Institutions Honored for Commitment to the Moon Shot for Equity Initiative

HERA partners Carthage College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin – Parkside were recognized with the Student Success Collaborative – CONNECTEDness Award from education firm EAB for their commitment to the Moon Shot for Equity initiative. The four HERA institutions were the first regional consortium of higher education institutions to be part of the initiative.

Moon Shot for Equity is led by EAB and focuses on eliminating equity gaps in higher education by 2030. The four HERA partner institutions took part in equity-mindedness training and were taught research-based best practices proven to remove systemic barriers to success in education. Learnings from this initiative were then shared with the 14 other HERA higher education partners to ensure all have the resources needed to further bridge equity gaps and increase student credential and degree completion rates.

The CONNECTEDness Award was presented at CONNECTED21, a three-day virtual gathering of thousands of student success leaders from progressive community colleges as well as four-year colleges and universities.

HERA and the Milwaukee Tech Coalition Recognized as 2021 Excellence in STEM Award Winners by STEM Forward

HERA and the Milwaukee Tech Coalition were recognized by STEM Forward, metro Milwaukee’s leading STEM education and outreach provider, for its partnership aimed at advancing the skills training in data and artificial intelligence for area students. HERA awarded its Foundations of Data and Artificial Intelligence badge to students who completed Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition’s pre-internship program to certify the knowledge they received from the program and the strong skillset they can offer to the region’s employers.

HERA’s badge was awarded to 64 students from area high schools, colleges and universities who completed the program on the ethics and impact of data and artificial intelligence. Students can use this badge to showcase their new skillset and differentiate themselves as they apply to internships and careers post-graduation. The badge also recognizes Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition’s pre-internship program as a credible educational course that teaches students how to develop new data-driven solutions and use artificial intelligence and data in a variety of industries.

The Excellence in STEM Awards, more commonly known as the Stemmy Awards, honor education institutions, employers, individuals and partnerships that demonstrate an unparalleled commitment to promoting STEM awareness and improving STEM competency to area students. HERA and the Milwaukee Tech Coalition along with this year’s other award winners will be recognized at STEM Forward’s 18th annual sySTEMnow Conference, held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at The Italian Community Center with a virtual option available.

Dr. John Swallow, President of Carthage College, to Serve as Chair of the Higher Education Regional Alliance

MILWAUKEE (September 8, 2021) – The Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA), a collective force of 18 southeastern Wisconsin public and private, two- and four-year colleges and universities and a network of partner organizations, today announced Dr. John Swallow, president of Carthage College, has been named chair of HERA.  Dr. Vicki Martin, president of Milwaukee Area Technical College, has been named vice chair. Dr. Mark Mone, chancellor of UW-Milwaukee, will serve in an advisory capacity as the immediate past chair of HERA. Each position holds a two-year term.

Click here for the Official Press Release.

Higher Education Regional Alliance Creates Data and Artificial Intelligence Badge to Certify Student Skills

We are excited to announce our first badge was awarded to students of @MKE Tech Hub Coalition’s pre-internship program on data and artificial intelligence. This is a critical step towards achieving HERA’s goal of better aligning, evolving and innovating educational programs so they better meet the needs of Southeastern Wisconsin’s rapidly changing economy. Read more about how this badge will showcase the students’ new skillset and make a difference in our region.

Click here for the Official Press Release

Building Connection and Community: A Reflection on Three Years of Partnership with Complete College America

HERA (Higher Education Regional Alliance) (HERA) is a unique collaborative of public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities, and a network of partner organizations in southeast Wisconsin.  HERA was formed in early 2018, in response to need to build a large and diverse workforce, catalyzed the decision of Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, to locate its manufacturing and innovation campus in the region.  The basic premise….We can achieve more working together!.  The need to do something different as a region and as individual institutions was made even more clear when the 24/7 Wall St. study on quality of life gaps found Milwaukee to be the worst city in the United States for Black Americans, followed by Racine. 

Looking back, the timing of our selection as one of the regions for the ECMC Metro Momentum Pathways project couldn’t have been better. HERA had just identified completion as one of its three strategic priorities, however; it was still planning on how best to approach this issue as a collaborative region. This ECMC project provided both the framework and the accountability we needed to move the work forward. The intentional process used by CCA was essential for momentum and success, which included gathering the data, getting campus leadership buy in, and developing a case statement for the work in the region.  Then HERA’s mission and aims were shared more broadly with colleagues across participating campuses to build a deeper understanding of the problem in our region and the support for and commitment to shared work around a key set of proven best practice strategies.

As you might have guessed, collecting the data was the first step in the process and to be honest, our first attempt did not go as well as we hoped.  We quickly realized that there was a lot of variability in the definitions used for various metrics, how data were used, what data was readily available, and the data resources available on each campus. So, as we moved ahead with the process, we took a step back and really worked to be more intentional in our inclusion of IR folks in our discussions.  This catalyzed the region, but also set up the framework for an accountability structure supported through a public regional dashboard and private institution dashboards. 

By the time of the planning summit, it was hard to deny that the region needed to implement the CCA Game Changer strategies. The next big challenge was the “how”.  At the planning summit, each campus had dedicated time with technical experts to help them think through what implementation could look like at their own institution so that they could begin to move from theory to action.

As our journey has continued, we have developed a shared language across the region and continued to convene as large groups (pre-COVID) and now in our monthly virtual strategy cohort meetings.  Our campuses have made substantial leaps forward and we are significantly closer to scaling these game changer practices across the region. Seventeen of the original eighteen campuses have remained actively engaged and committed to this work.

Equally important, the region has also begun to see and appreciate the value of our collective work and the original premise….We can achieve more working together!.   As evidenced by these two quotes –

“I’m working on balance between short term and long-term needs, and currently feeling tipped to the short-term side.  But today’s conversation helped to bring our strategic work back into focus.  That can be one of the best benefits to working together! “  VP Enrollment Services

“I appreciate that this is a space where we can honestly share struggles, not to receive answers, necessarily, but to open up future dialogue/discussions/paths for research. “ Writing Program Coordinator/Assistant Professor of English