The Gardner Institute recognized CTN at a national convening recognizing innovation in Undergraduate Education. CTN was one of only three in the nation to receive the Edge Award. The 2021 Edgerton Salute: A National Convening for Recognition of Undergraduate Innovators was held on Friday, October 22 at 1 pm ET.

John Gardner spoke about the institute’s commitment to their social justice mission and how Russ Edgerton

“charged them to take more responsibility for student learning, which is different from holding the students 100% responsible for their learning.”

Gardner explained that the Edge awards are “for organizations and individuals who are on the leading edge of innovation, both in their organization and more broadly. and were recognized for having created work that is replicable, scalable and, most importantly, worthy of emulation.”

CTN Board Chair, Rogelio Saenz, began by providing a description of the Ascender program for the participants as well as the purpose of the CTN organization and its structure. Next two alumni from the Ascender program at ACC spoke about the benefits and highlights of being in the program. Dr. Saenz then introduced CTN CEO, Dr. Maria Chavez.

Dr. Chavez began by thanking the “teams across the State of Texas that have worked extremely hard to make this possible; they are truly the wind beneath my wings.” She continued, “We know that the economic future of the nation, depends on providing true opportunity to students who have been historically overlooked and disadvantaged. We know that there is no easy solution to this, but the work begins with inspired and trained educators.”

“To address the equity debt to Latino and other underprivileged students my efforts were inspired by the efforts of people from Texas, who wanted to create a more equitable society,” she added. She then recounted the legal history of Mexican Americans in Texas who fought to end the segregation of Mexican Americans in schools.

“Our goal as an organization has been to help students succeed while transforming developmental education policy in practice. We want to support our colleges in becoming a space in which, in the words of Laura Rendon, all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or ability can unleash the creativity and exuberance we’re learning that is present in those students who feel free to learn, free to be who they are, and validated for what they know and believe.” “Education is indeed our freedom and remember freedom is everybody’s business,” she concluded. “Thank you for the recognition of our program.”

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