#RealCollege™ Curriculum

#RealCollege™ Curriculum

A self-paced digital learning experience

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice is propelling the work of the #RealCollege™ Movement by launching the development of a new digital curriculum and community of practice to transform higher education into a place where students are treated as humans first. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, this effort to scale supports for students’ basic needs for food, housing, childcare, transportation, and mental health has never been more critical.

The #RealCollege Curriculum is a master class in basic needs and the lived experience of #RealCollege™ students. This is a highly interactive online learning platform will bring users into an inclusive community of practice. The platform will support the full array of educators and community organizations, students, advocates, and policymakers who are seeking new skills to address basic needs for college attainment and student well-being.

The #RealCollege Curriculum features three courses:

Course 1: The Students We Have

  • Explore the landscape of basic needs insecurity within higher education today. The course invites you to get to know who your students are and the everyday challenges they face to get their basic needs met. Sometimes the barriers are within your institution and can be addressed and reformed. At other times, obstacles rest outside your institution and require a different scope of navigation. No matter where the barriers exist, this first course offers you a chance to increase awareness and gain new skills that will ultimately lead to greater student success. 

Course 2: The Real Economics of College

  • Delve into the realities of the increasing costs of higher education and costs of living and how those relate, or not, to the larger systems of financial aid, the Social Safety Net, and institutional and systemic racism. Students who experience financial trauma may have difficulty seeking and receiving assistance. Some of these challenges can be addressed in small ways through the institution, for example, building skills to provide trauma-informed support to students. The larger systemic challenges may be more complex to fix but are important to understand as you build a sustainable basic needs ecosystem within your institution.

Course 3: The Practice of Care in College

  • Understand students as humans first. The third module will focus on the work of care, giving participants practical steps they can take to better support their students’ social-emotional health. We’ll explore the essentials of trauma-informed practices and learn specific approaches that demonstrate care and increase student success and resilience in college.

Participating institutions in the Hope Impact Partnerships (HIP) will gain full access to the #RealCollege Curriculum. If you are not part of a HIP participating institution but would like to enroll in the #RealCollege Curriculum or acquire a license for your institution, please complete this form.

The #RealCollege™ Curriculum is a partnership between The Hope Center and three experienced partners:

  • Digital Pedagogy Lab, a community of educators focused on issues of social justice in online and face-to-face teaching, is coordinating curricular development focused on compassion and care.
  • Frontlines of Justice, an online video learning curriculum creator, is bringing its innovative, cutting-edge content delivery platform to the project, providing a sleek, interactive, and engaging learning experience.
  • Award-winning documentarian Soledad O’Brien’s production company is contributing footage from the documentary Hungry to Learn.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation along with Gates Philanthropy Partners facilitated the launch of the #RealCollege™ Curriculum with a seed grant to support the first three modules, which will be publicly available by early 2022. The Hope Center seeks additional partners to develop and expand the curriculum.