In September 2013, Lawrence was awarded a $2,136,998 grant from the Department of Education (Title III Strengthening Institutions Program). The five-year, federally-funded grant will allow Lawrence to implement an integrated network of academic support initiatives designed to help students overcome obstacles and achieve their educational goals. We received a one-year no-cost extension. To achieve the goal of increasing retention and graduation rates, the grant will support several activities:
• Additional staff positions for the Center for Teaching & Learning and Student Academic Services (now Center for Academic Success) that will substantially increase the hours of each term of one-on-one and small group academic skills development, as well as ESL services.
• A retention management system will be launched with new software to coordinate faster, more targeted connections to students who would benefit from supportive, individualized outreach by a network of faculty and staff.
• New bridge programs will develop core skills and better prepare incoming students for college.
• New and advanced training for faculty advisors to equip them with tools to provide better, more culturally competent academic advising and mentoring.
• The CORE peer mentoring program launched in the fall of 2013, will be expanded to serve all freshmen, matching each Freshman Studies section with two upper-division peer mentors. The CORE mentors will help first-year students make Connections, receive ongoing Orientation, identify and utilize campus Resources and develop realistic Expectations about academics and student life.
The name of our Title III grant-funded initiatives is COMPASS, which is an acronym for: Commitment to Orientation, Mentoring, Persistence, Advising, Support, and Success.