April 14, 2020 — LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is welcoming Chris Rutherford and Jenny McArdle to their team. Rutherford was named Director of Community Mobilization Strategy and started April 13. Rutherford replaces Ryan Fewins-Bliss, who was named MCAN’s executive director in 2019. McArdle will begin May 4 as Director of Service Strategy, a new position to MCAN. Both new team members will play a critical role in MCAN’s mission of increasing postsecondary attainment in Michigan.

ABOUT THE ROLES

The Director of Community Mobilization Strategy develops, manages and delivers a suite of training and technical assistance services to statewide Local College Access Networks, utilizing the Collective Impact framework. In addition, this role oversees LCAN grant administration and has oversight of the Community Ambassador contracting efforts to increase engagement between communities without LCANs and MCAN.

The Director of Service Strategy provides leadership and support of the AmeriCorps AdviseMI college advising program and the forthcoming College Completion Corps program. In addition, this role builds and expands MCAN’s relationship with the Michigan Community Service Commission, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and other AmeriCorps programs.

ABOUT RUTHERFORD

Rutherford most recently served as the Promise of Place program manager in Detroit for the national Campaign for Black Male Achievement. For seven years, he also served as the program manager for the Michigan College Advising Corps at the University of Michigan. Rutherford earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University and his master’s degree in social foundations of education from Eastern Michigan University.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to continue my career in postsecondary access with a dynamic organization,” said Rutherford. “MCAN has led the way in championing college attainment in Michigan and I look forward to contributing to that work as we continue to pursue equitable solutions to make college accessible for all."

“Chris brings phenomenal experience to our team that will be incredibly helpful as we strive for Sixty by 30,” said Fewins-Bliss. “He brings several missing elements to the table that will strengthen our ability to support and grow our community-based work. Chris has been a friend and colleague of the organization since our inception. I look forward to his leadership within the organization and throughout our local communities.”

ABOUT McARDLE 

Prior to coming to MCAN, McArdle served as director of community impact at the United Way of Genesee County in Flint. McArdle has experience working with AmeriCorps-funded programs through the Michigan Nonprofit Association and the LEAGUE Michigan. McArdle earned her bachelor’s degree in global development studies from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and her master’s degree in international affairs from Ohio University.

"I am honored to be joining the MCAN team as they embark on their second decade of promoting equity through college access for the state of Michigan,” said McArdle. “As we look ahead to the post-COVID-19 world, it will be more important than ever that Michiganders are prepared for a changing economy, and to step into the jobs being created today. I look forward to engaging in this work with partners from around the state."

“Jenny brings statewide and national acclaim with her, due to her innovative work in Flint,” said Fewins-Bliss. “Her knowledge of national service will be a key asset for our work with college advisers and college completion coaches. Our AmeriCorps programs will only flourish with her support.”

Visit the MCAN staff page to learn more about the team dedicated to improving college attainment rates across Michigan.


ABOUT THE MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN works to improve the futures of Michigan’s students and communities by making college accessible to all. MCAN’s work centers on one main goal: To increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. MCAN engages partners statewide who are committed to systems-level change and the reduction of barriers to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. MCAN has helped Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increase for the 10th consecutive year. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org. 

  • Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
  • Email: Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
  • Cell: (517) 816-7774