Alverno College

Alverno grad student balances basketball — and her business

February 8, 2018

Recent Alverno graduate Gabby Hood is doing it all – she’s on the basketball team, she’s pursuing her master’s degree, and she owns her own business. FOX6 featured her on National Girls and Women in Sports Day on February 7.


Alverno College Part of a Pilot Program to Assess Students’ ‘Essential Employable Qualities’

November 29, 2017

Graduates line up outside the Pitman Theatre.

Alverno College was selected to participate in a national pilot program examining the employability of college students after graduation, a program that aligns with Alverno’s internationally admired abilities-based curriculum that’s been in practice since the early 1970s.

As participants in the Essential Employability Qualities (EEQ) Pilot program led by the Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education (the QA Commons), Alverno and 14 other North American higher education institutions are co-creating criteria leading to a certification process that will promote and recognize EEQ-building programs.

EEQ Pilot participants are exploring ways to assess higher education programs that intentionally:

  • develop essential employability qualities in students
  • engage students and employers in quality assurance
  • assure that graduates are prepared for the world of work after program completion
  • communicate openly and accurately with the public

“Alverno has an international reputation for developing innovative approaches to student learning,” said Carole Chabries, Ph.D., dean of Alverno’s School of Adult Learning and New Initiatives. “This pilot brings national attention to the importance of what we’ve known and practiced for decades: that college-level learning outcomes can prepare students to participate in their academic disciplines and excel in the workplace, leading to new approaches that serve the needs of learners, employers and society.”

Alverno centered its curriculum around the 8 Abilities after feedback from industry partners gathered in the early 1970s indicated the types of skills college graduates should possess to be professionally successful. Alverno’s Adult Evening and Online program in Business, a flexible program for adult learners who complete classes both in-person and online, will serve as the incubator for the year-long pilot endeavor.

On September 14 and 15, EEQ Pilot participants met for the first time in Atlanta.

“Work as we know it is changing, so it’s increasingly challenging — and important — to ensure higher education experiences appropriately prepare graduates for the 21st century,” said Ralph Wolff, founder and president of the QA Commons.

According to a 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index report, although 98% of chief academic officers rate their institutions as very or somewhat effective at preparing students for the world of work, only 11% of business leaders strongly agree that graduating students have the skills and competencies they need.

The essential employability qualities that EEQ Pilot participants seek to develop in graduates include:

  • People skills such as collaboration, teamwork and cross-cultural competence
  • Problem-solving abilities such as inquiry, critical thinking and creativity
  • Professional strengths such as communication, work ethic and technological agility

“Participating in the EEQ pilot gives us the opportunity to sharpen and deepen our own practices,” said Chabries. “We are excited to work and learn alongside peers who share our belief that college-level learning outcomes can prepare students to successfully integrate their academic studies, their careers and the fullness of their lives.”

Pilot participants are diverse in the discipline, learning format and degree levels they offer; the types of institutions they belong to, whether public, private, for-profit or faith-based; and the student bodies they serve, such as first-generation students, traditional age or continuing education students, commuters or residential students.

The EEQ Pilot is a project of the QA Commons, an independent, nonprofit organization devoted to exploring, developing and leading approaches to quality assurance that serve the needs of learners, employers and society. The QA Commons and the EEQ Pilot are initially funded through the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) under a grant from the Lumina Foundation. Learn more and follow this work at

Where College Students Are Most inspired by Their Peers

September 26, 2017

Students sit outside the Sister Joel Read Center.

How inspiring is an Alverno education to our students? More inspiring than any other college or university in the nation, according to new rankings from The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. And we beat out some impressive company: MIT, Brown University and Harvard University. Students across the country were asked: “Do you think your college provides an environment where you feel are surrounded by exceptional students who inspire and motivate you?” You can read the full Wall Street Journal story for all the details.


Alverno’s New Strategic Plan Aligns Strengths and Priorities with Milwaukee Region’s Emerging Workforce Needs

September 26, 2017

Alverno College

Alverno College announces its strategic plan, after a comprehensive year-long planning process that was built around invited input from the College community, alumnae, and key business and civic leaders in Milwaukee and around the country.

The new strategic plan, the first led at the College by President Andrea Lee, IHM, aligns Alverno’s strengths and priorities with the Milwaukee region’s emerging workforce needs. Preparing students for careers in education, nursing and mental health are the top areas of focus. The plan also demonstrates the College’s continued commitment to academic excellence and developing strong women leaders. As part of the plan, Alverno introduced five new programs this year.

“Our pledge to the Alverno community and the region as a whole is to continue to strengthen and grow a mission-driven, market-focused college that benefits students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumnae,” Lee said. “The direction and priorities of our new strategic plan position us and our students well for the future by building upon the College’s legacy and strengths.”

“We believe meeting student needs is more important than ever given that there are so many choices today in higher education,” added Kate Lundeen, vice president for Enrollment Services. “Though Alverno is nationally known as a leader and innovator in higher education, we must remain nimble and flexible by growing and reimagining existing academic programs and adding new ones that students and leaders in our region have requested. Our goal is to prepare highly skilled, critical-thinking, mission-centered graduates ready to fill the region’s employment and leadership needs.”

New Education Programs Prepare Teachers for Urban and High-Need Schools

To better prepare teachers for urban and high-need schools, Alverno redesigned its undergraduate curriculum to place greater emphasis on multicultural classrooms and meeting the needs of diverse learners, which will result in four new Education programs. A paraprofessional to teacher degree completion program launched in fall 2017. Planned for the future are a Montessori teacher licensure partnership; graduate licensures for pupil services and special education administrators; and certificates and digital badges for trauma-informed education. Alverno will increase the number of hours students spend in the classroom before graduation – triple what was previously expected – and include a full senior year internship that will make Alverno graduates more desirable to school districts while providing more assistance to area schools.

The College also will place a priority on ensuring that more teachers of color are working and serving in Milwaukee classrooms.

Health Care Priorities Focus on Leadership Development, Technology and Non-Nursing Opportunities

Alverno’s critically acclaimed JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing and Health Care Professions will add advanced leadership-focused programs, incorporate technology-rich elements into existing programs and offer alternatives for students who wish to work in health care in non-nursing roles. New initiatives include a master of science degree program in gerontology for primary care nurse practitioners; a 12-month fully online bachelor’s degree completion program for RNs; and the expansion of programs in pre-physical therapy, health education and health informatics.

New Behavioral Health Programs Address Shortage in Providers

Alverno plans to meet the critical need for more mental health providers by building upon the College’s established undergraduate programs in psychology, music therapy and art therapy and master’s programs for licensed professional counselors and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. Alverno will launch a bachelor’s degree in social work, pending accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education, and will expand its Music Therapy offerings with a graduate-level program in fall 2019. Additionally, a master’s degree in School Psychology will launch in fall 2018 to meet the increasing needs of behavioral health specialists prepared to serve students in schools throughout Wisconsin.

New Programs Expand Commitment to Academic Excellence and Women’s Leadership

Building on its long history of developing strong women leaders, Alverno will launch challenging new programs designed to help women achieve their highest academic aspirations.

Additionally, Alverno’s Center for Academic Excellence will provide new opportunities for students to partner with faculty on research projects. The Austin Doherty Scholars program, which targets students seeking to stretch their academic engagement, is being expanded. Two other existing programs are also growing: the Executive in Residence program, which brings executives to campus for a full day of group discussions focused on their career; and the Women in the C-Suite program, which partners small groups of students with female executives who share insights about their career, as well as challenges they face and the opportunities they’ve taken.

The College plans to add 500 students in five years, bringing overall enrollment to 2,500 by 2022.

Jodi Eastberg Named Executive Director of Center for Academic Excellence

September 21, 2017

Jodi Eastberg

Jodi Eastberg, Ph.D., professor of history, has been named executive director of Alverno College’s Center for Academic Excellence. The appointment was effective August 1.

In this new role, Eastberg will provide leadership for Alverno’s Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and partner with Alverno faculty and staff to provide opportunities for high-achieving students to get the most from their college education. Launched in fall 2015, the CAE offers student-faculty research fellowships, intensive courses, conference and study abroad experiences and fellowships, seminars, and the Doherty Scholars program. Data shows that students who engage in academically rigorous programs and co-curricular opportunities have significantly higher success reaching their educational goals. Alverno’s CAE provides multiple opportunities for this type of individualized and high-impact academic engagement.

Because of the Center’s strong focus on meaningful research opportunities, Eastberg will also oversee the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls. With a focus on providing research that supports the understanding and improvement of the lives of women and girls, the Research Center for Women and Girls will provide another platform for the substantial in-depth academic opportunities that will allow high-ability students and faculty researchers to engage directly with the community.

Eastberg began teaching at Alverno in 2005 and most recently served as chair of the history department. In 2014, she and a colleague developed and led an interdisciplinary course on coastal cities that studied Milwaukee – investigating the ways culture, economic development, political dynamics and the environment are affected by its location on the water. The semester culminated in a trip to coastal cities along the Baltic Sea: Gdansk, Poland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Kalmar and Malmö, Sweden. Eastberg was promoted to professor in May 2017.