Edward Waters College (EWC) recently took an audacious first step in recasting the College’s overall academic and institutional profile by establishing new heightened admissions standards for entering students beginning Fall 2019. Consistent with a bold new vision foreshadowing a promising future of limitless institutional potential, EWC’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the adoption of new minimum GPA and SAT/ACT entrance requirements at its February meeting.
“In keeping with one of this administration’s foremost strategic priorities we intend to strengthen our academic profile by comprehensively inaugurating a more rigorous and competitively excellent academic experience at EWC which begins with setting a new standard of expectation with regard to the future profile of the entering EWC student” said EWC President & CEO, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr.
For many years EWC has operated as an “open admissions’ institution citing a historic mission dedicated to providing access and opportunity to students. The “open admissions’ policy operated in part to give students a chance to overcome socioeconomic and other challenges that often correlated with low performance on standardized college entrance exams and/or a less than stellar academic performance record in high school. Nevertheless, while the College can certainly point to a number of remarkable individual success stories under the open admissions era, institutional data divulged that those individual successes generally proved to be the exception and not the rule. Accordingly, the College has experienced some challenges with regard to meeting institutional expectations toward positively impacting overall retention, persistence, and graduation outcomes.
“We believe that these two very laudable aims (i.e., Maintaining Competitive Academic Standards/Demanding High Academic Student Achievement & Providing Access/Opportunity To All Students) don’t have to operate as per se mutually exclusive efforts” President Faison said.
“At EWC, we intend to lead by demonstrating that institutions can in fact offer students post-secondary access and an opportunity to earn a degree while at the same time maintain high academic standards and incubate high student achievement leading to quantifiably competitive student performance outcomes—that is improved retention, persistence, and graduation rates and perhaps even more importantly demonstrable evidence of post graduate success” Faison said.
To support that contention EWC raised its institutional admissions standards while also simultaneously announcing the creation of the new Charles H. Pearce Institute, named for one of the College’s seminal clergy inspired progenitors who pursuant to the admonition of famed African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Bishop Daniel Payne, worked to establish the Florida school to educate recently emancipated slaves throughout the state and region at the close of the civil war. The new five-week college credit bearing summer early-start program will offer participants who successfully complete the program (by earning passing grades of C or higher in each of its associated freshman level courses) full non-conditional admission to the historic institution.
Notable features of the new Charles H. Pearce Institute will include a robust scaffolding of student support services including intensive study strategy/skills seminars, time management workshops, one-on-one staff and peer student tutoring services, dedicated academic advising conclaves, financial responsibility sessions and interpersonal communications colloquies all collectively designed to maximize the propensity for student academic and personal success at the College.
“This is merely an initial step in our gradual transformation towards raising the bar and raising expectations with regard to student academic performance and overall student achievement as we seek to establish Edward Waters as a destination institution of academic distinction and emerging eminence” President Faison said.
About Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College (EWC), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges, and Schools (SACS) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWC was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private institution of higher education in the State of Florida.