Duke Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

The university aims to increase underrepresented minority student science, technology, engineering and math degree completion by 8 percent

Duke University’s Lee D. Baker, associate vice provost for undergraduate education, will join President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders Thursday to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.  The White House College Opportunity Day of Action supports the president’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.   Duke aims to increase underrepresented minority student science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degree completion by 8 percent. To achieve this commitment, Duke will partner with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create a Collaboratory On Mentoring, Persistence, Assessment, and Student Success (COMPASS). The focus for COMPASS at Duke is to replace a one-size-fits-all approach with a suite of different teaching methods that were chosen based on evidence that they are effective in reaching different groups of students. Duke’s commitment to this goal will engage students and faculty, span multiple departments and create a community of STEM learners and research practitioners. “We applaud the President and First Lady's initiatives to increase opportunities for all high school students to access higher education,” Baker said. “Duke has been and we will continue to focus on recruiting and supporting highly meritorious students from diverse backgrounds.”   To date, Duke has launched several initiatives to reach underserved young students and improve their access to college. A partnership with the College Advising Corps has Duke students serving as college advisers to high school students in rural North Carolina communities. Duke also runs a pre-orientation program for first-generation students each fall to ease their transition into college. In addition, Duke continues to have a need-blind admissions policy, which means that all qualified U.S. applicants are accepted regardless of their ability to pay for college. Duke guarantees it will meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.Thursday’s participants will be asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion; creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness; investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative; and increasing the number of college graduates in the STEM fields.

Watch the ceremony at the White House live below