ASC awarded new Title V grant

(10-13-2010)

Adams State College was recently awarded a $3.18 million Title V grant to improve student engagement and success, according to Dr. Michael Mumper, Adams State senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Program Development. This is the third Title V grant Adams State has been awarded over the last decade. Designed to strengthen Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), the new grant will run for five years.

"This grant will help us improve our student achievement, especially of Hispanic and low-income students," Mumper added. "ASC's student retention rates have increased steadily over the past three years, and this grant will help us to build and expand that success."

Adams State has the longest Hispanic Serving history among Colorado four-year institutions, with current Hispanic enrollment at 32 percent, up three percent over last year. Fifty-five percent of the student body is considered low income, with family adjusted gross income averaging $17,818; while 82 percent qualify for need-based federal Pell Grants - the highest percentage of any public higher education institution in the state.

"We plan to address three significant areas: the need to consolidate and expand our student services, a need for a comprehensive faculty and staff development program, and the need to keep up with rapidly-evolving instructional technology," Mumper said. "Hispanic Serving Institution" is a federal designation for colleges and universities that enroll a minimum of 25 percent Hispanic students. Title V aids HSIs in expanding educational opportunities for and success of Hispanic students. The grants also enable HSIs to expand and enhance their academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability.

ASC Title V Grant Director Lillian Gomez

Dr. Lillian Gomez is Adams State's Title V grant director, while Eva Brown will serve as the project's activities director. "We are really excited to win this new grant, because the process is very competitive. It gives Adams State the opportunity to adopt best educational practices that will benefit all of our students, regardless of class, gender, or race," Gomez said.

ASC Title V Activities Director Eva Brown

Adams State President David Svaldi said: "I want to thank the faculty and staff who worked on obtaining this grant, particularly Dr. Mumper and Lillian Gomez, for their hard work on behalf of our students."

Student Success Center

A new Student Success Center will be constructed on the first floor of the Neilson library. Plans call for it to be opened in August to serve as a "one-stop" for the college's various academic support programs, according to Mumper. "We will create a center that is inviting to students who do not normally visit the library.

Gomez added: "This will help Adams State expand services for students who may not have successful in the past."

The center will house the Title V Activity Director and intervention specialists, as well as the college's Academic Advising Center, TRiO Student Support Services, STAY program (developmental education), and disability services. The Title V grant will also support expansion of peer tutoring offered through the Grizzly Learning & Testing Center, located on the library's second floor. The Student Success Center will include ten student computer workstations to facilitate group study.

The grant will also support a new "Summer Bridge" program to help freshmen better transition to college. Serving 30-35 students each year, it will parallel a similar program offered through ASC's Student Support Services that has improved student retention and academic performance.

In the grant's second year, the college will hire a career counseling coordinator to provide students with career planning and placement services.

Faculty development

The second major component of the new Title V project is expansion of professional development activities for faculty and staff through the college's Center for Equity in Teaching and Learning (CELT). This program was initiated under Adams State's first Title V grant in 2000.

"Faculty development will focus on transitioning from pedagogy - education of children - to androgogy - education of adults. We will present workshops and seminars, as well as a summer immersion institute, on best practices for teaching Hispanic, at-risk, and adult students," Gomez explained. In addition, faculty who have completed these development programs will be eligible for teaching improvement grants to further enhance their classroom work.

Technology acquisition

The Title V grant will also fund new instructional and assistive technology for faculty and students. In addition to the Student Success Center workstations, two technology-enhanced classrooms (TEC) will be built each year of the grant.

A variety of assistive technology to support disabled students will also be acquired. This includes an Open Book advanced screen reader, a low-vision desktop magnifier, Daisy digital readers, talking dictionaries, digital recorders, Livescribe devices for converting notes to MP3s, and recordings for the blind and dyslexic.

Service to Hispanic students

Adams State's first Title V grant, for $1.96 million was awarded in 2000. The primary activity of that five-year project was creation of CELT to "support curricular innovations and efficient use of technology." CELT workshops have stimulated many faculty members to implement new teaching practices and a more student-centered approach to learning. In addition, participating faculty became more cognizant of students of different ethnic, cultural, class, and social backgrounds.

A $3.4 million Title V cooperative grant was awarded to Adams State College, Trinidad State and Otero junior colleges to expand educational access for Hispanic students. This five-year project, which concludes in March, has five objectives:

  • Increase enrollment of community college students in four-year teacher education programs
  • Increase number of students in the transfer/baccalaureate pipeline
  • Improve instructional skills among the college faculty
  • mprove student academic performance
  • Improve course alignment between the community colleges and Adams State.

By Julie Waechter