Plans to broaden undergraduate studies are set into place as Cabrini receives a $1.87 million grant from the federal government. Out of 217 applicants, Cabrini became one out of 34 higher education institutions nationwide to obtain the grant.
The United States Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions grant’s purpose is to supply eligible institutions with abilities to improve academics, strengthen contribution to nationwide higher education programs, increase institutional management and sustain fiscal stability.
For the first time ever, Cabrini won the grant by proposing five goals it expects to accomplish with the grant funds. Included in these goals were to connect and create a “seamless living-learning environment,” better the needs and expectations of millennial students, add to academic support services, develop better advising and career development and boost need-based student scholarships by having $400,000 toward an endowment.
“We’re putting programs and people in place,” Dr. Charlie McCormick, the dean of academic affairs, said. To show that Cabrini will be successful in distributing the funds, McCormick said, Cabrini must meet measures. These measures are coming up with higher retention rates and showing an increase in student involvement with co-curricular activities. After accomplishing those goals, another set of measures will be in place and expected for five years after that.
The purpose of the Title III grant is to provide help for institutions of higher education in serving low-income students. Payments of the grant are delineated throughout five years. Each amount given depends on the goals Title III has. In the first year more funds will go towards personnel development than in the next four years. In those last years, the institution will begin to absorb the funds directly.
“I think it will do quite a bit. It’s not going to be a magic bullet. It’s not going to be this magic incantation we wave over the institution and everything changes right away, but I think it will help us structure a more intentional first year experience,” McCormick said. He stressed the importance of campus-wide contribution in order to successfully take the goals and make them working activities. McCormick feels that Cabrini has already begun to work on the goals of the grant by hiring Dr. Kimberly Boyd as a coordinator of first-year advising. He believes the grant will help to build the first-year experience by developmental advising from the moment students arrive on campus.
Along with the other grants Cabrini has recently received, the Title III grant raises the total incoming funds to $2.75 million.
“We’ll have a more comprehensive co-curricular program so that our students really see learning as extending beyond the classroom,” McCormick said. He hopes that this will help to make sure students are learning what the professors think they are learning. McCormick hopes that in doing so, a better student and faculty learning “center” will grow, and support mechanisms like trained personnel and better technology will escalate the process.
Dr. Jonnie Guerra, currently the vice president of academic affairs, is the Title III project coordinator. McCormick is the Title III activity director, and other programs and departments will assist them in following through with the grant goals.
“It’s very exciting. It will be fun to see the changes that occur and what we’re able to do with it,” McCormick said.
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