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WSSU named a 2018 Social Mobility Innovator

students walk near the S.G. Atkins statue on campus
WSSU students greet each over during the first day of fall classes on Aug. 20. 

For the second consecutive year, technology provider CollegeNET has recognized Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) with its Social Mobility Innovator Award.

WSSU was one of eight universities recognized in 2018. 

The 2018 award was presented at CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Summit in Portland, Oregon.

The award recognizes universities that have ranked near the top of the CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index over the past four years.

 Other universities receiving awards were:

  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Baruch College (City University of New York)
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Wichita State University
  • Rutgers University-Newark
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • University of California, Irvine

“The current economic trends limiting access to higher education have no place in a country that has historically touted economic opportunity, sought to broadly optimize its citizens’ potential and prepare them for participation in our democracy,” says Jim Wolfston, CEO of CollegeNET. “When a college offers a challenging environment populated with diverse ideas, personal backgrounds and viewpoints, it prepares students to encounter, navigate and appreciate the unfamiliar. Given that innovation always depends upon a person’s ability to consider what could be different from their own assumptions and experiences, economic inclusion is thus not only a solution to a social justice issue, it is a key strategy for sparking innovative minds.”

During the summit, representatives eight universities participated in a roundtable discussion on best practices for student success. Dr. Craig Richardson, professor of economics and founding director of the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM), and Allonda Hawkins, program manager for CSEM, represented WSSU.

Richardson and Hawkins discussed how CSEM, which launched in 2017 through a $3 million grant from the Center for Advancing Opportunity, is bringing faculty and students together to study the barriers to economic mobility in the communities around the university.

WSSU is one of only five colleges and universities in the nation – and the only on the East Coast – to rank in the top 20 each year of the rankings. In the most recent rankings, which were released in October 2017, WSSU ranked no. 9 in the nation, and was the only HBCU to rank in the top 20. 

Created in In 2014, the Social Mobility Index ranks U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers. 

MORE: Chancellor featured in social mobility e-book

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

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