Paul Quinn College

Paul Quinn College: Affordable, Relevant, Transformative Higher Education

Mariya, Patrick, Jacob, and Jonathan go to class 50 percent of the week and work on the campus farm on the other half. Next 12 months they may be performing at JPMorgan Chase, Southwest Airways or just one of the other Dallas enterprise partners.

The Function Software at Paul Quinn College provides pupils with meaningful services opportunities that enable create competitive job competencies even though contributing toward the expense of their education and learning. Perform and lowered tuition are aspect of the New City School Design, adopted at PQC in 2015, which enables college students to graduate with considerably less than $10,000 of debt.

PQC is just one of nine federally funded operate schools and the only city and Minority Serving Establishment in the Operate Faculty Consortium, a collaboration of “Distinctive liberal arts faculties marketing purposeful integration of Function-Finding out-Provider.”

From Crisis to Innovation to Scaled Effect

Established in 1872 by African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers in Austin, the school’s primary purpose was to teach freed slaves and their offspring. The non-public, religion-dependent, liberal arts-inspired college moved to southern Dallas in 1990.

The faculty was indebted and battling in 2002 when Dallas attorney Michael Sorrell joined the board. Right after four presidents came and went, Sorrell was appointed as president by the board in 2007. The subsequent yr, with only 445 students, the college shed accreditation (and obtain to federal assist). Sorrell scrambled and discovered a new accreditor, but by 2009 there ended up only 171 learners on campus.

The turnaround commenced with an entrepreneurial mindset and coronary heart of servant management. Sorrell coined the four L’s of Quinnite Servant Management: leave sites greater than you identified them, guide from anywhere you are, dwell a life that matters, and appreciate some thing increased than your self.

Though rebuilding an motor of financial and social mobility, Sorrel advanced a lifestyle of mutuality with a new mantra, “WE above me” that begun demonstrating up on properties and basketball courts all-around campus.

Sorrel built a ton of tough price range cuts including the football workforce. In 2010, Sorrel invited the Director of Assistance to change the deserted soccer field into the We More than Me Farm, an city backyard garden and section of the get the job done plan. Farm produce feeds pupils on campus, is distributed to regional dining establishments and donated to neighborhood charities.

In the middle of the turnaround, at the urging of UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, Sorrel went again to college and additional a Penn doctorate to his resume. Investigation for his 2015 dissertation laid the basis for the New City Higher education Design.

The new organization product slice $10,000 off the previous value of about $24,000 and added a get the job done credit rating of $5,000. With Pell and other grants students devote (or borrow) only $2,375 for each year.

At Sorrell’s request to make the tutorial courses much more applicable and the pupils greater ready, Chris Dowdy, VP Educational Affairs, led efforts to employ Reality-Primarily based Schooling “linking task-centered learning, experiential learning, and a pragmatic technique to the liberal arts.” That usually means a lot more reasoning, talking, and crafting throughout the curriculum.

In 2018, the school adopted a finding out management process and began converting classes to a hybrid tutorial design which enabled them to shift swiftly to distant studying all through the pandemic.

With a reduced cost position and new frame of mind, enrollment grew and so did donations. For the initially time in 40 many years, new buildings went up on campus like a residence hall and a impressive gymnasium/historical past lesson.  

Dowdy established a partnership with Guild Education and learning to offer PQC programs and diploma applications to functioning adults by means of employer sponsorship.  

In February, with assist from the Rainwater Foundation, PQC designed a remarkable provide to Fort Worth substantial university college students that they could enroll two grown ups with them. If a college student is recognized with at least a 3. grade-stage typical and qualifies for federal support, they can pick two family members customers or good friends to enroll with them. The goal is to adjust the training course of a family’s fiscal predicament, change tension off of 1st-technology college learners and boost the odds of good results when a household can witness every other doing the job toward a certification or diploma. The loved ones members or pals can purse a diploma or credential by means of a person of the on the internet applications. The objective is to alter the class of a family’s financial predicament while eradicating a bit of the strain from a  first-technology college scholar and raising the odds of accomplishment when relatives members can experience good results together although working towards a certificate or diploma.

With enrollment all-around 1000, the new mix is approximately 80% on-line. Dowdy thinks they’ll see additional in particular person enrollment in the subsequent couple years.

Some of the upcoming in individual enrollments are likely to appear from the two secondary schools on the PQC campus: KIPP Oak Cliff Academy and Haynes World wide Preparatory Academy, a Dallas ISD middle school that functions the Global Baccalaureate curriculum and will insert superior school grades.


Doing work your way by means of university is not a new plan. PQC’s purposeful integration of do the job and services into the educational and business model of better schooling is new and critical for acquiring a perception of objective, building task-prepared techniques and maintaining affordability.

It is promising to see perform-concentrated state initiatives like California’s Higher education Corps which supplies a $10,000 scholarship in trade for 450 hrs of provider.  

Leadership aspirations for PQC college students are one of a kind and impressive: “The goal is greatness, greatness for you and for all those you will lead.” The emphasis on management and company in tutorial courses, perform study and society have been essential to the PQC transformation.

Sorrel’s entrepreneurial management together with rapid tests of new suggestions and divesting minimal contribution programs has established the phase for scaled effect for Paul Quinn and the operate higher education thought.  

This publish is aspect of our New Pathways marketing campaign sponsored by American University student Assistance® (ASA), Stand Jointly and the Walton Relatives Basis.

This submit was at first published on Forbes.

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