May 032010
Authors: Aaron Hedge

CSU and Walden University officials announced last week that they will conduct an audit of the relationship between underrepresented Colorado high school students and their teachers and administrators to establish a better way to get students into college.

In a meeting with the university’s Alliance schools, several administrators told high school officials from across the Front Range that the program would improve student-teacher relationships and help bridge a stark academic achievement gap.

Alliance schools subscribe to certain CSU recruiting methods in exchange for incentives like exclusive scholarships.

The need for improving academic standing of minority populations in Colorado, leaders said, is crucial, considering that Colorado has a 35.8 percent gap between white students and the next largest ethnic group –– the largest of any state, experts at the meeting said.

“These statistics are alarming,” said Paul Thayer, the vice president for Student Affairs at CSU. “There’s no way to argue that. They are alarming.”

The project stems from an initiative in New Zealand that, according to numbers presented at the meeting that took place in Rocky Ford, greatly increased academic standing of New Zealand’s Maori population and improved relationships between students and teachers.

Tom Cavanagh, a Walden University professor who did his dissertation at CSU on achievement gaps and was integral in the New Zealand project, said administrators at highly diverse high schools expect the program to have a similar effect in Colorado.

Projects Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at

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