|LSSU Receives $1.86 Million Grant to Strengthen Student-Factulty Connections|
September 30, 2013/LSSU News
By Tom Pink
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University has received a $1.86 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program that will enhance faculty teaching and strengthen student advising. The LSSU grant is one of 39 issued throughout the country, and the only one awarded in Michigan.
LSSU President Tony McLain said the five-year grant will be used to establish a faculty center for teaching and learning that will enhance faculty instruction and advising through a variety of resources, including the establishment of a student learning commons in concert with LSSU’s already established Learning Center. The grant will allow the analysis of “momentum points” in a “student life span” that will help LSSU manage barriers to learning by modifying policies and procedures.
“This grant is wonderful news not just for LSSU, but for our region, as it is geared to especially help students who may be the first in their families to attend college,” said McLain. “Many of our students fit that description and this program will help them succeed.”
The federal Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) provides funds to improve and strengthen college and university academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability, as well as build a framework to help students complete their degrees. The grants boost the capacity and quality of programs offered by higher education institutions as they work to increase completion rates and better prepare their students for success in college, careers and lifetime aspirations.
The grant will help LSSU analyze all of the steps that a student takes toward earning a degree, and better track and respond to students who are not making adequate academic progress. It will also help LSSU continue to improve its retention rate, which has increased from 60 percent to 73 percent over the past seven years, improve classroom technology, become more cost-effective and ultimately increase graduation rates.
SIP funds may be used for a wide variety of purposes, including planning, faculty development, and the development and improvement of academic programs. Administrative management and establishing an endowment fund are also supported. Institutions may use the grant for other projects as well, such as student service programs designed to improve academic success, including providing innovative or customized instruction courses designed to help retain students and see them through to program completion.
To be eligible for funds under this program, institutions must be serving a substantial number of students receiving need-based federal student aid and have low per-student expenditures.
McLain praised the committee that has been working on the education grant since last winter. The committee includes David Myton, Barbara Keller, Ken Hemming, Bill Eilola, Greg Zimmerman, Mark Terwilliger, Carolyn Rajewski, Geralyn Narkiewicz, Karen Johnston, Steve Eles and Shelley Wooley.
More information about the US Dept. of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program may be found at www2.ed.gov.