MARCH 16, 2020
Dear Colleagues,

Recently we hosted the 2020 Learning Network Convening, designed to share knowledge stemming from experience, deepen relationships and expand networks.  It was a rewarding and inspiring few days.

Now, as we collectively isolate ourselves, the stark reality of loneliness begins to peer its head out from the darkness for us all.  And it is, while hard, positively powerful as seclusion enhances the empathy we will bring to our work in the future.  Empathy for those whose daily lives outside of campus are full of loneliness and despair we often overlook.  So, when campuses come to life with students again, let’s be sure to enter them with a renewed sense of empathy for each other.  To recognize we all have a story, and every narrative arc includes periods of struggle, self-doubt and loneliness. 

In the interim, Strong Start to Finish will continue to provide frequent and regular updates on what we are learning from research and the dedicated people in the field – situated in a variety of positions – who are undertaking this work just like you. 


Christopher M. Mullin, Ph.D.
Director, Strong Start to Finish
Strong Start to Finish’s 2020 Learning Network Convening was held in Miami the first week of March.  Highlights are hard to extract, as each session brought so much value to participants. For this reason, we have decided to share the program with you.  In particular, the Scaling Sites shared the following presentations:
  • Lessons from the Momentum Year: Tristan Denley, University System of Georgia
  • The Financial Implications of a Shift to Co-Requisite Remediation: Sarah Truelsch & Mari Watanabe-Rose, The City University of New York
  • Supporting Continuing Progress in Developmental Education Across Campuses: Tom Sudkamp, Ohio Strong Start to Finish
  • Leveraging SSTF Supports within Existing Student Success Reform Efforts: Jennifer Miller, Jill Lansing, & Alma Kanic-Franco, The State University of New York
  • Collecting New Developmental Education Reform Data in a Large, Decentralized State: Stacy Fisher, California Community College Foundation
  • Ensuring Institutional Implementation Progress and Quality:  Mike Leach, Arkansas Community Colleges, Linus Yu, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Charles Watson, University of Central Arkansas Jessie Walker, Arkansas Department of Higher Education Heather Ortiz, The Charles A. Dana Center, UT-Austin

On March 4, 2020 the expertise, insights, evidence and practice of our collective efforts came together in a refresh of the Core Principles for Transforming Remedial Education Within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy: A Statement from the Field.  While the Core Principles were published by us, they reflect the views of others as shared during a panel at the Learning Network Convening.

Since their release, we have had requests to give a presentation of the Core Principles both in-person and via webinar. We are thrilled to receive these requests. If you would like to have a virtual or in-person presentation for your system or organization, please let us know by sending an email request to (We will do all we can to offer it cost-free.)


Our network includes Core and Research and Service partners who will provide technical assistance, develop next generation tools and inform our collective vision that will bring clarity and coherence to the field.  Examples of the work underway were shared at the Learning Network Convening and include but are not limited to:
•    Assessment and Placement: Lessons Learned and Future Directions: Nikki Edgecomb & Tom Brock, Community College Research Center 
•    Aligning Courses through Maps: Sarah Ancel & Vanessa Keadle, Student Ready Strategies 
•    Advising and Supporting Developmental Education Reform: An Opportunity for Collective Problem-Solving: Melinda Karp, Phase Two Advisory 
•    Using Continuous Improvement to Support Effective Co-Requisite Models: Lindsay Daugherty, RAND Corporation 
•    Supporting Institutional Readiness: Chris Baldwin, Chris Baldwin Consulting

  • In the short term, the Strong Start to Finish team is not traveling, as scheduled events have been cancelled in an abundance of caution.  We recognize all too well the effort that goes into planning an event and stand by the decisions made by our partners in the field.
  • We will be engaging in webinars and are a willing partner to provide webinars when requested and where possible. Please do reach out if your system or organization would like an opportunity to engage with the work.
Our mailing address is:
700 Broadway, Suite 810
Denver, Colorado 80203-3442

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