Russ Fraenkel, NW Region Transitions Coordinator
Lesley Blicker, Partnership Specialist
During the 2020-21 academic year, the secret was exposed through the participation of over 80 Minnesota State faculty, Adult Basic Education (ABE) teachers, and program administrators who energetically engaged in four Affinity Group meetings, joining forces to achieve outstanding student outcomes. No longer is it a secret that Minnesota can boast about numerous highly remarkable partnerships between ABE practitioners and Minnesota State campuses delivering value to students and the programs that serve them. In fact, Dev Ed/ABE partnerships were identified at 16 Minnesota State two year colleges.
Dev Ed/ABE Affinity Group
The Dev Ed/ABE Affinity Group presented the opportunity for partnerships, from long-standing through yet-to-be developed, to share effective practices in and outside the classroom, discuss ways to surmount barriers, and strengthen their student-serving impact. It was refreshing to discover that many highly effective partnerships exist throughout Minnesota, and that adult educators from two major systems shared a passionate desire to collaborate on behalf of many adult students in desperate need of support.
Affinity Group discussions led to the desire to co-create a partnership toolkit to aid this essential work, be it the desire to launch a partnership, increase partnership instances, or improve the practices of existing relationships. Five Minnesota State and ABE teams involving subject matter experts were guided through a process for documenting their experiences in ways that Affinity Group members believed would be of value to their colleagues. Along with their ABE partner, campuses contributing to the toolkit include Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Central Lakes College, Northland Community and Technical College, Hibbing Community College, Lake Superior College, and Northland Community and Technical College. Watch for a future announcement regarding the availability of toolkit content by mid-October.
When asked if the Affinity Group should continue to meet during the 2021-22 academic year, the response from the group was a resounding YES! Topics of interest are determined by membership and the meetings are facilitated by this article’s authors, Russ Fraenkel and Lesley Blicker.
The five virtual meetings will be offered in September/October, November, January, March, and April at the following times:
- Thursdays from 2:00-3:15 p.m.
- Fridays from 10:00-11:15 a.m.
To aid educators in attending when it best suits their schedule, participants are offered two options to attend a meeting exploring the same topics. The first Affinity Group meeting options will take place on Thursday, September 30 and Friday, October 1; simply choose the date that works best for you.
If you have questions about the Affinity Group, would like to be involved, or have an interest to learn more about collaboration efforts, please email Russ at firstname.lastname@example.org.