“Portmont is designed to be the springboard for those young adults who have the grit and determination to succeed, but who face burdens and barriers, financial or otherwise, that could limit that success,” said Srikant Vasan, Founder and President of Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s. “In partnership with Mount St. Mary’s College, we have created top quality, yet affordable, Associate’s degree programs that combine rigorous academics with critical supports and resources to ensure students can not only access, but complete the high-quality education necessary to build careers and create futures for themselves.”
“Portmont offers a degree attainment option for underserved students through a scalable and cost-effective model,” said Josh Jarrett, Deputy Director of Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are pleased to see this idea, conceived while Srikant was an Entrepreneur-
“Mount St. Mary’s has had a longstanding commitment to educating the underserved. This new, exciting partnership brings this commitment and our top-quality curriculum together with Portmont’s innovations in pedagogy, technology, and student supports to offer a high quality, personalized educational experience to thousands of new students. The launch of Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s will help address the national challenge of broadening access to high quality education at lower costs,” said Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson, President of Mount St. Mary’s College.
Building Capabilities Needed For Long-Term Success
The college anticipates launching four blended Associate degree programs that combine the best of personalized online education with in-person student cohorts, supports, and social learning opportunities:
The hallmark of the Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s curriculum is its focus on core capabilities that students will need for long-term career success. This includes curriculum designed to advance skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communications, information literacy, teamwork, performance character, and learning to learn. Unlike other institutions, these core capabilities are not only taught, but developed and measured at a student level multiple times within each course. Students, their potential employers, and the Portmont community of support will consistently have visibility into a student’s progress along these core capabilities.
“Portmont students will graduate with not just a high quality, respected degree, but also the ability to think clearly, work well in teams, and communicate effectively,”
Creating Meaningful Connections
Portmont students will be part of a connected, supportive community of faculty, coaches, and peers. It starts with the Portmont “Success Launch Process,” which goes beyond the cognitive topics typically addressed by college success courses and utilizes a series of four courses to develop intrapersonal and interpersonal skills correlated to work and life success. Before being accepted to Portmont, prospective students attend the “Launch Pad” – a free three-week online course that provides an opportunity for the college to observe students’ online course taking behavior first-hand, as student behavior is one of the primary criteria for gaining admission into the full Portmont program. If successful, students will advance to “Ignition”
Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s will work with community partners, such as charter schools, public schools, and community organizations to identify students with grit and determination but also the burdens and barriers to success. The admissions team will evaluate candidates based primarily on their grit, motivation, and resilience. Given the community-centricity and the need for holistic, blended student supports, Portmont will launch and grow city-by-city starting in Denver, Colorado, and followed next by San Francisco, California. Once the model is working well in Denver and San Francisco, Portmont plans to admit students from additional cities nationwide.
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