Mueller to join Obama, other leaders at White House education summit
Grand Canyon University President and CEO Brian Mueller is among national leaders of universities, businesses and other organizations invited to attend the White House College Opportunity Summit in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Dec. 4.
The conference recognizes educational institutions and other community stakeholders committed to developing college graduates who can put their skills to use in the American workforce.
“Grand Canyon is pleased to be part of this national discussion about how to best educate our young people, prepare them for fruitful careers that support Arizona cities and towns, and make college education as accessible as possible to a wide range of students,” Mueller said.
Over the past few years, the University has intensified its efforts to ensure that a high-quality, affordable college education is available to all students, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Nearly 18 months ago, Grand Canyon and the Phoenix Union High School District announced a partnership with Alhambra High School to develop the “Learning Lounge” on the University campus, where college students mentor high school students to assist them in improving their academics and expose them to the vast possibilities of a college education. After just one year, nearly 300 Alhambra students have visited the Learning Lounge and received more than 1,000 hours of tutoring. Alhambra, which was a D-rated school just two years ago, is now 10 points away from being a B-rated school, and leads the Phoenix Union High School District in geometry scores and passing grades in math classes.
The partnership with the Phoenix Union High School District is one of hundreds of others that GCU has developed with public, charter and private schools throughout the Southwest.
“Through our Christian mission, Grand Canyon is making a concerted effort to develop public-private partnerships to help improve the Arizona communities that we live in,” Mueller said. “The University remains committed to providing a quality, affordable, private Christian education to students who might not otherwise have that opportunity due to their socioeconomic status.”
This fall marked the launch of Grand Canyon’s academic programs in computer science and information technology, which are now included among more than 160 degree and certification programs across eight colleges. The new technology programs are part of Grand Canyon’s long-term commitment to develop students in science, engineering, mathematics and technology (STEM). The University has for years been developing biology pre-med students, with nearly half of its traditional campus students enrolled in the health sciences. The new computer science and information technology degrees offer six different emphases, including business entrepreneurship, health IT and big data analytics.
Grand Canyon also is launching engineering programs in fall 2015 and is currently in the process of building, in two phases over two years, STEM classroom buildings totaling 160,000 square feet.
Mueller said other partnerships with the city of Phoenix to curb neighborhood blight, enhance public safety and renovate the aging Maryvale Golf Course, highlight Grand Canyon’s commitment to the greater good and increasing the quality of life in its surrounding community. Additionally, GCU and Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona recently announced plans to renovate up to 700 homes in the neighborhoods surrounding its campus.
The White House College Opportunity Summit will focus on leaders who have championed collaborations with K-12 education, affordable college education and other means to increase college completion rates, especially for first-generation children of immigrants and those from low-income homes, in addition to other underrepresented students. President Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and other leaders, are scheduled to attend.