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  • Delaney Hayden

Proposal for New Two-Year “Come to Believe” Program at Canisius

By: Delaney Hayden, Asst. News Editor 

 About the Come To Believe Network

The CTB model focuses on underserved, low-income students, aiming to create a “better normal” for affordability and access to higher education. CTB colleges are located on existing campuses and offer rigorous academic programming, high-touch staffing models, holistic student support and a focus on transferability of credits. With superior graduation rates, low tuition costs and exemplary post-graduation achievements, CTB model colleges aim to empower students to pursue their educational goals and contribute to their communities.

On Friday, Feb. 2, the Canisius Undergraduate Student Association (USA) welcomed Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs Yvonne Widenor to present a proposal for a new program on campus. Widenor introduced the concept of the Come To Believe Foundation and Network, a national organization focused on providing higher education opportunities for underrepresented groups. The proposed program would establish a two-year college within Canisius’s campus that would operate independently and be funded primarily through donations. 

The Griffin sat down with Widenor about the newly proposed program, during which she explained, “The Come to Believe model creates a two-year college program within the physical space of a university and creates a unique space for students who might otherwise not be able to complete an associates degree to complete one and have a direct path to a four-year degree program, ideally at the ‘home’ university but not necessarily.” 

The Come To Believe Foundation and Network (CTB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing innovative, accessible higher education opportunities for underrepresented students. CTB operates as an accelerator within the higher education.

Widenor plays the role of the project manager and will oversee work on the program during this semester’s planning phase. She explained, “Faculty from various departments and staff members from Admissions, Advancement, Facilities, Financial Aid and the GriffCenter each have a vital role in creating a proposal to be reviewed by the Come to Believe Network.” The team that is starting the program’s planning has invited students and the community at large to participate. Anyone who is a student or alum of Canisius can share their observations and recommendations. Widenor encouraged students from USA to get involved and encourage their peers to do so, as well.

When asked about the timeline for program implementation, Widenor clarified that it is not yet a definite program to be implemented at Canisius, but that the team recognizes the opportunity it would offer members of the Western New York community. The process of getting the Come to Believe Network up and running tends to take at least three to four years before a decision is made. Canisius is currently in the first year and second semester of this process.

Regarding potential campus changes, Widenor assured, “Current students would not be impacted, and this college would have its own physical space on campus that would include classrooms, a library, cafeteria and office spaces for the college faculty and staff.”

The proposal for the CTB program represents a significant initiative to expand access to higher education at Canisius. Though still in the early stages, the program has the potential to positively impact the campus community and provide valuable opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds.

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