College will use funds for intensive academic and career advising & early intervention activities
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has been awarded $1.8 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grants.Rowan-Cabarrus is one of only two colleges in North Carolina to receive funding, with 34 recipients total nationwide. The total award is $1.8 million with the college receiving $399,950 in the first year. The overall intention of the grant is to improve student persistence, retention and graduation.
Community colleges across the country are joining together in a unified effort increase the rate of postsecondary completion.
“The college is committed to the ‘Completion Agenda’ and securing this grant is part of the college’s work toward achieving the national goal for America to lead the world in college graduates by 2020,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, RCCC President.
As part of the grant, Rowan-Cabarrus plans to improve student retention and graduation rates through intentional advising activities in newly created Academic and Career Advising (ACA) Centers.
“This intentional advising approach is one we have wanted to implement for some time now,” said Spalding. “Funding and staffing constraints have made it challenging, but with this grant we will be able to do so. Now we can focus on coaching students through their course planning, as well as their transfer or career paths.”
In addition to the tutoring services the college currently offers, the grant will allow for supplemental instruction in some courses. Supplemental instruction is a non-remedial academic support program that promotes collaborative learning as a means of understanding difficult subject matter. It targets specific courses where students have the most difficulty and then provides targeted support beyond the classroom.
For example, supplemental instruction for nursing may provide activities and review from a content specialist to enhance instruction on particularly challenging topics such as body chemistry and pharmacology.
Another important component of the grant will include an expanded new student orientation program.
“Improving retention and, ultimately, is definitely linked to our ability to identify barriers to student success,” said Carl M. Short, Jr., chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees. “That is why the integrated approaches supported by this grant are so critical to student persistence. If we can identify a problem early and address and remediate the issue, a student is more likely to succeed.”
All students will have access to the services provided under the grant, though it will initially focus primarily on undecided students and developmental students, with further expansion to transfer students in the second year.
“This is when government works at its best, when we’re able to get funding back to the local folks who have identified a local need,” said Rep. Larry Kissell (NC-08). “This is important funding that will help so many of our students here at home. This grant will help keep students on a path to success, working to ensure opportunity for the people and businesses of our community.”
The grant provides 100 percent of the funding for the projects in the first year and will phase the remaining funds over the course of five years in order to build capacity for the college to sustain the activities implemented through the grant. Additional planning will occur over the remainder of this calendar year, and faculty and staff training is slated for the spring semester. Implementation and opening of the ACA Centers are planned for June of 2012.