Adams State awarded $5.7 million in grants for Hispanic Serving Institutions

(09-28-2015)

Adams State University was recently awarded more than $5.7 million through two federal Title V grants for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). These awards will bring the total Title V funding Adams State has received since 2000 to more than $23.4 million.

"We are very proud to receive these grants that recognize and further our work to educate and serve rural, minority, and low income students," said Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure. "Expanding educational access and improving student success will enhance the sustainability of our communities."

Adams State is the lead partner in the Title V cooperative grant, Caminos: Increasing Access to Education and Opportunity in the Upper Rio Grande Region. The award will total $3,178,389 over the next five years, with $649,359 awarded the first year. Adams State's partner on the project is University of New Mexico-Taos, a two-year HSI. The institutional grant, Conexiones, will receive a total of $2,584,038 over five years, with a first-year allocation of $518,304.

This semester, 35 percent of Adams State's undergraduate student body identifies as Hispanic. Federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution requires a minimum of 25 percent Hispanic enrollment.

Increasing Access in the Upper Rio Grande Region

The Caminos project will expand and refine use of distance education technology to increase enrollment, persistence, and graduation rates of Hispanic and other high-need students in the Upper Rio Grande Region. The grant aims to double the number of distance degrees awarded through both Adams State and UNM-Taos and to increase student transfer from associate's to bachelor's degree programs.

"Distance education is an effective path to bridging geographical and other barriers that prevent many residents from attaining a degree," said Lillian Gomez, Caminos Project Director. "Both institutions have demonstrated success in serving diverse students. This cooperative grant allows us to take a bold step forward through distance technology innovations."

The project will expand online program offerings, support faculty training in online/hybrid instructional techniques, and expand digital infrastructure to provide better access to remote, rural communities. A key component to improving student success will be development of online academic support services tailored to online student needs.

Making connections for degree completion

The Conexiones project aims to increase students' success at Adams State by streamlining their progress through math remediation and providing more high-impact learning experiences that deepen their collegiate experience and better prepare them for careers.

Conexiones Project Director Andrea Benton-Maestas explained, "Our goal is to reduce remediation and improve the graduation rates of Hispanic and high-need students. The project has three strategic components that will create new connections for students academically, personally, and professionally."

Those components include improving student success in developmental and gateway math courses, revamping campus advising processes, and expanding faculty and staff development programs that support inclusion and equity, learning, and faculty innovations.

These grants were obtained through the work of Adams State's core Title V grant-writing team: Grants Specialist Tawney Becker, Dr. Melissa Freeman, Lillian Gomez, and Dr. Michael Mumper. Becker noted, "Many others from numerous campus departments contributed ideas and information to help us develop the grant. This was a grant inspired by the care, insights, and inspiration many individuals invested in this process, with students at the forefront."

By Julie Waechter