Transforming Remedial Education to Improve Postsecondary Attainment

Transforming Remedial Education to Improve Postsecondary Attainment
Transforming Remedial Education to Improve Postsecondary Attainment

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With recent estimates suggesting that over 50% of all college students require remedial education and research indicating that remedial education students rarely earn a postsecondary credential – it is critical that the transformation of remedial education become part of every state strategy to dramatically increase college attainment rates.  Fortunately, new research and innovative practice are demonstrating that dramatic improvements in student success can be achieved.  However, without state and federal action, this transformation will be slow and inevitably fall short of its potential.  This event explored how state and federal policy can accelerate proven reforms that will be central to meeting state and national goals to increase college attainment rates in the U.S.

Don’t miss the Speaker Interviews we conducted after the forum in the Presenter Biographies section!

Presenter Biographies

Dr. Tristan Denley has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Austin Peay State University since January 2009. Originally from Penzance, England, Dr. Denley earned his PhD in Mathematics from Trinity College Cambridge, and held positions in Sweden, Canada, and the University of Mississippi before coming to Austin Peay. At Ole Miss he served as Chair of Mathematics, and Senior Fellow of the Residential College program.


Throughout his career, he has taken a hands-on approach in a variety of initiatives impacting student success. In 2007, he was chosen as a Redesign Scholar by the National Center for Academic Transformation for his work in rethinking the teaching of freshmen mathematics classes. He has continued this work at APSU with a new approach to remediation and instituting course redesign across the gateway courses. He is presently involved in implementing a wide variety of initiatives surrounding college completion stretching from education redesign in a variety of disciplines and institutional transformation, to the role of predictive analytics and data mining in higher education.

His most recent work at APSU has created Degree Compass, a course recommendation system that successfully pairs current students with the courses that best fit their talents and program of study for upcoming semesters. This system, which combines hundreds of thousands of past students’ grades with each particular student’s transcript, to make individualized recommendations for current students was an IMS Global Learning Impact Award winner.

Dr. Matt Gianneschi is the Vice President of Policy and Programs for the Education Commission of the States, a national organization created to assist elected leaders and executives in education develop effective policies and practices.  Prior to joining ECS, Dr. Gianneschi  was the Deputy Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, during which time he worked alongside Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, and from 2007-2009 was a senior policy advisor to Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.  Dr. Gianneschi has on-campus experience with numerous colleges and universities, including serving the as the vice president of student services for a major urban community college in the Denver area.  From 2000-2004, Dr. Gianneschi was a director of one of the nation’s largest college preparation and scholarship programs at the Daniels Fund, the Rocky Mountain region’s largest philanthropic foundation.  Dr. Gianneschi received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona.  In 2011, Dr. Gianneschi received the Marshall Memorial Fellowship award from the German Marshall Fund of the United States.


Katie Hern, Ed.D., is an English Instructor at Chabot College and has conducted extensive research into her department’s longstanding accelerated developmental English course. Hern is Director of the California Acceleration Project, working with math colleague Myra Snell to support faculty from the state’s 112 community colleges to redesign their reading, writing, and math curricula to increase student completion ( Hern and Snell’s work has been featured in the New York Times, KQED public radio, and Inside Higher Education, along with national organizations Complete College America, Getting Past Go, the Developmental Education Initiative, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Hern speaks nationally on integrated reading and writing and accelerated models of remediation. Her article “Acceleration across California” appeared in Change magazine (May/June 2012).


Previously, Stan Jones served 16 years in the Indiana State Legislature, more than five years as a senior advisor to Governor Evan Bayh and 12 years as Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education.

Jones is credited as a primary architect of several landmark education policy initiatives.  These initiatives include the 21st Century Scholars program, a scholarship program aimed at increasing the number of low-income students attending and completing a postsecondary education; the development of Indiana’s new community college system; the creation of Indiana’s Education Roundtable; and the implementation of Core 40, a college prep curriculum that has contributed to a significant increase in high school seniors going to college.

Complete College America is a new organization focused on working with states to develop policy that supports increased completion of college degrees especially for under represented youth.


Recommended Resources

Click here to watch Stan Jones’ Post-Forum Interview»

Click here to watch Katie Hern’s Post-Forum Interview»

Click here to watch Matt Gianneschi’s Post-Forum Interview»

Click here to watch Bruce Vandal’s Post-Forum Interview»

Click here to view Tristan Denley’s Post-Forum Interview»

Click here to read the forum brief


Presenter Information


Dr. Tristan Denley

Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Austin Peay State University

Office of Academic Affairs

Browning Building, Room 109

P.O. Box 4505

Clarksville TN 37044



Matt Gianneschi, Ph.D.

Vice President of Policy and Programs, and Director of the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute

Education Commission of the States

700 Broadway, #810

Denver, CO 80203-3442



Katie Hern

Chabot College


California Acceleration Project

25555 Hesperian Blvd.

Hayward, CA. 94545


Stan Jones


Complete College America

345 South Main St.

Zionsville, IN 46077




The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.