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University Receives $2 Million Grant to Support Student Retention

October 25, 2016

CONTACT:    Dr. Angela Spaulding, 806-651-2731, aspaulding@wtamu.edu

University Receives $2 Million Grant to Support Student Retention

 

CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University is the recipient of a $2,149,578 Strengthening Institutions Program, Title III grant from the Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education to support its commitment to undergraduate student retention and degree completion.

The five-year grant will provide coaching of first- and second-year students, including first-generation and minority student populations, by full time retention coaches and assist with the coordination and expansion of student support offerings. Each of the University’s five colleges and one school will have the added resource of a retention coach, reporting directly to the dean, to support college specific retention needs.

“Securing this grant allows us to add another layer of support for students, especially freshman and sophomore, that will connect them to resources and assist them in being successful,” Dr. Wade Shaffer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. “We know that intentional monitoring, advising and mentoring of students leads to enhanced student success, and this grant will allow us to expand the monitoring and mentoring of our student population.”

The grant writing team included Dr. Angela Spaulding, vice president of Research and Compliance and dean of Graduate School; Dr. Emily Hunt, dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science; Dr. Pam Lockwood, professor of mathematics and associate dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science; Judy Kelley, director of West Texas Evaluation and Research; Michael Preuss of Hanover Research; Steve McLean of the WTAMU Office of Sponsored Research; and Dr. Aaron Hunt, education consultant.

“An analysis and review process led us to conclude that intentional, one-on-one coaching relationships targeted to meet specific student needs are critical for the development and retention of students in higher education,” Spaulding said. “This grant provides an exciting opportunity to test this individualized method and bring additional support for our students.”

The implementation and oversight team includes the WTAMU college deans Dr. Neil Terry, dean of the College of Business; Dr. Jessica Mallard, dean of the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities; Dr. Dirk Nelson, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences; Dr. Dean Hawkins, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences; Dr. Emily Hunt, dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

“Student retention is a major issue for academic institutions, and this grant will allow us to hire retention coaches that are specific to the academic colleges,” Mallard said. “This is an exciting opportunity to help first- and second-year students.”

 

—WTAMU—


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