MCSS:    About the MCSS   |   Corequisite Design Resources   |   Initiatives and Resources   |   Major Funders and Partners   |   Reports and Publications   |   Events
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Initiatives and Resources

Since 2011, the Michigan Center for Student Success has led nearly 20 initiatives with 28 community colleges across Michigan and our partners and funders.  Selected initiatives and resources are available below. In addition to the projects outlined below, the MCSS has been involved in Accelerated Learning Program, Benefits Access for College Completion, Career and College Readiness Partnership, Consortium of Michigan Veteran Educators, Credentials that Work, Credit When It's Due, Degree Qualifications Profile, Gateways to Completion, and Project Win-Win.
Materials from recent events are available on our Events page.  View past events and filter events by the Michigan Center for Student Success.  

Strengthening MiHumanities

Click here to register for the MiHumanities Faculty Gathering on October 22, 2021. This event is open to all 2-year and 4-year faculty members in the communication, English, history, and theater disciplines. Come learn more about how you and your peers can make a strong collective impact on student success in Michigan by participating in this collaborative project.

Project Background

In this project, college and university faculty from across Michigan in the communication, English, history and theater disciplines will have the opportunity to collaborate in strengthening students' first and second-year experiences in these disciplines. The project will:

  • Provide a venue for in-depth exploration of courses offered in the selected disciplines
  • Promote reflection on student experiences within each discipline
  • Result in recommendations from faculty to:
    • Strengthen transfer pathways from associate to bachelor's degrees in these disciplines
    • Enhance teaching and learning in lower-division courses in these disciplines with implications for students taking the courses to fulfill general education or program requirements
    • Increase equitable access for all students to "light the fire" experiences in each discipline

This is a collaborative project with Community College Research Center (CCRC). In their research project, CCRC is using a mixed-methods design to examine how community colleges promote and facilitate enrollment, persistence, and transfer in humanities fields. Humanities education in the two-year sector is under-researched, but its importance is undeniable, both in terms of the number of students enrolled in community college humanities coursework and the significance of the humanities for students’ educational experiences. MCSS staff were invited to write about this collaborative work on the CCRC Mixed Methods blog in May 2021.

An informational webinar about this project was held on April 23, 2021 to identify participants interested in serving as discipline leads. Click the hyperlinks to review slides from MCSS, slides from CCRC, and webinar recording.


Strengthening MiWorkforce Pathways

Generously funded by the Ascendium Education Group, the Strengthening MiWorkforce Pathways project seeks to strengthen equitable access to and through workforce programs in six industry cluster areas: applied business, applied technology and skilled trades, computer and information services, health professions, engineering technology, and protective services. The project entails four related strategies as outlined below.

Project Strategies

Intended Outcomes




Strategy #1: Program Design

Better understand how programs are helping graduates successfully access their local labor markets and ensure they are providing equitable access and success.

Interested programs should complete and submit the WF SOAA by August 6, 2021.

Begins Summer 2021

MiWorkforce & WF SOAA Intro Video (13 minute video)


MiWorkforce & WF SOAA Intro (Slide Deck)


WF SOAA Template

Strategy #2:  Industry Credentials

Identify high-value industry credentials, incorporate the credential in the program, communicate this relationship, and award credit for previously earned credentials.

Selected programs based on interest.

Begins Fall 2021


Strategy #3:  Transfer Pathways to Bachelors Degrees

Work with selected bachelor’s degree granting institutions to build statewide transfer agreements with selected programs.

Selected programs based on interest.

Begins Summer 2021


Strategy #4:  Timely Advising Interventions

Expand the capacity of advisors and counselors to provide student supports by creating customizable guides focused on creating equitable access to workforce programs.

Open to all interested community colleges.

Begins Spring 2022


MI-BEST (Michigan - Building Economic Stability Today)

The Michigan Center for Student Success launched the MI-BEST (Michigan - Building Economic Stability Today) focused on improving student completion and success by addressing economic instability among students including access to food, housing, transportation, childcare, and other basic needs. 

The Michigan – Building Economic Stability Today (MI-BEST) effort is funded by a grant from ECMC Foundation as part of its Basic Needs Initiative, designed to address and alleviate basic needs insecurity among students. The MI-BEST initiative will assist colleges in developing a systematic strategy to address the non-academic needs of their students at scale- that is, for all students in all programs of study. The MI-BEST initiative will provide community colleges with the technical support needed for them to move from understanding the non-academic needs of their students to partner with their surrounding community and public benefits to address student needs.

The MCCA is partnering with nationally-recognized organizations including the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement and Trellis Research along with Michigan-based organizations including the Michigan Association of United Ways, MiBridges, and Public Policy Associates to support Michigan’s participating community colleges.


We have gathered valuable resources to help colleges implement economic stability practices to support student success which are cataloged on our MI-BEST Resources page.  Contact Precious Miller to add additional resources to this repository.



Colleges participating in the MI-BEST initiative will primarily engage in project events through virtual convening delivered via Zoom.  All materials from project events are available on our MI-BEST Events page.  

Birds of a Feather Twitter Engagement Efforts

MCSS invites all faculty, staff, and administrators working for #MiStudentSuccess to follow us on Twitter @MCCACSS and join us in tweeting about your student success efforts using the following hashtags as appropriate: #MiStudentSuccess, #MiFacultyLead, #MiTransferPathways, #MiRightMath, #MiBestCC and event-specific hashtags as announced. The videos here share details about our Twitter engagement efforts and offer a crash course in using Twitter for those who may be less familiar.

Mark your calendars for upcoming Twitter Tuesday chats on the following dates:

  • March 30, 12PM Eastern - #PTKProud: Celebrating #MiStudentSuccess Scholars

Check out past Tweet Chats (full of great examples, tangible resources, and fun discourse):

Guided Pathways

Guided Pathways logo

An overwhelming number of programmatic choices coupled with poorly aligned support systems present significant challenges to students as they attempt to get on and stay on a clear path toward a credential. Building on the work of notable national initiatives, Michigan colleges have worked to tackle institution-wide structural issues the serve as obstacles to student success.

MCSS is supporting 26 community colleges in their efforts to implement Guided Pathways reforms at scale including institutes to convene colleges around the guided pathways principles; the self-assessment colleges will use to gauge the adoption of Guided Pathways practices, a coaching program and ongoing technical assistance from a team of national experts.  Resources from Guided Pathways Institutes are available on the website. website


Michigan Transfer Network

The MCSS led a statewide initiative to replace the Michigan Transfer Network which is Michigan's statewide course equivalency database.  The new website at allows students to view course equivalencies, understand the Michigan Transfer Network, review articulation agreements and transfer guides, and find dozens of transfer resources from Michigan's colleges and universities.  The MCSS is the fiscal agent and project lead for a $1 million state appropriation that funded this and other work.  This new site and related work have served as the foundation for the Center's deep engagement in improving transfer student outcomes. 


MiTransfer Pathways

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Signature Report 13, Michigan lags behind our peers in the percentage of students who have earned an associate degree before transferring or students who have earned a degree within six years.

transfer student outcomes after six years
Source:  Adapted from National Student Clearinghouse

MiTransfer Pathways

The MCSS is leading a statewide initiative to build multi-institutional associate to bachelor's degree transfer pathways in some of the largest majors in Michigan.  This work began in 2018 and will continue through 2020 in three phases across 12 programs.  

Faculty from these 12 programs convened to identify the common courses that are required or recommended in the first and second year.  This historic engagement across colleges and universities continues to improve relationships between institutions, a renewed focus on student success, and a clearer understanding of the choices available to students.  More information about this work is available at


MIStart2Finish supports colleges in scaling effective developmental education policies and practices with a goal of increasing the overall percentage of Michigan community college students who successfully complete college-level English and mathematics within the first year of college enrollment. Read more in this MIStart2Finish Guide for Colleges.

Reconnect Academy Information

Degrees When Due

Approximately one million working adults in Michigan have earned some college credit or a credential but never earned a degree.  Some of these adults have earned college credit at Michigan's community colleges and are close to earning a degree.  

 In 2018, Michigan joined the inaugural cohort of states participating in Degrees When Due, a completion and equity initiative housed at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).  The initiative includes 15 community colleges focused on re-engaging adults with "some college and no degree."  In Michigan, there are over 1 million adults who have earned some college credit but never earned a degree.  In Spring 2019, the 11 participating colleges reached out to thousands of former students who earned all of the requirements but never claimed an associate degree.  Michigan will launch a second cohort in Fall 2019 with four additional colleges participating in this important adult reengagement initiative.  



Right Math at the Right Time

Right Math logo


In early 2016, the Michigan Community College Association and the Michigan Association of State Universities, in partnership with the Charles A. Dana Center’s Math Pathways to Completion project, established the Right Math at the Right Time (RM@RT) Task Force to strengthen the implementation of math pathways across Michigan’s two- and four-year post-secondary institutions.

Math Pathways to Completion (MPC), sponsored by the Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, uses a strategy of organizing a state-level math task force to establish a vision for math pathways in that state.  In 2020, our Task force kicked off a project to improve transferability of the gateway college-level math courses in each of the three pathways--college algebra, introductory statistics and quantitative reasoning. Please visit our website,, for information about how to get involved. website


Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA)


vfa logo

The Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) is the first comprehensive national accountability system created by community colleges, for community colleges. Community college leaders—facilitated by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)—conceived, developed, and pilot-tested the VFA metrics. 24 Michigan community colleges are participating in and will leverage the VFA to better understand how their students are performing both individually and collectively.

Through participation with the VFA, Michigan community colleges are tracking metrics in three areas:

Student Progress and Outcomes

  • Developmental Education Progress Measures
  • One- and Two-Year Progress Measures
  • Six-Year Outcomes Measures

Workforce, Economic, and Community Development

  • Career and Technical Education Measures
  • Non-Credit Workforce Courses
  • Adult Basic Education.GED

Student Learning Outcomes

The MCSS has worked closely with the VFA team at AACC to analyze data to benefit our projects and learn about our progress.  Additional information about the VFA and Community College Measures of Effectiveness are available from AACC.

VFA information