Life science faculty members from Mesa Community College (MCC) and Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) will use an $11,000 Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation Horizon Grant to improve success rates in life science courses. With the funding, the colleges are making a teaching model that will embed skill-building and support systems into the curriculum.
“We are developing a unified Welcome to Life Science video to provide an introduction to our field of study and an overview of the resources available to assist our students,” said Francesca de Martini, MCC life science faculty member and principal investigator for the grant. “We’ve added skill-building workshops into our curriculum and are monitoring student progress. Course-embedded tutors are checking in with students appearing to need additional assistance.”
Biology classes recorded high withdrawal rates during the pandemic. Research shows that academic interactions between students and faculty and participation in peer study groups increase retention rates, which is the goal of the grant.
“We are confident our model will increase success rates of biology students who may struggle with course formats other than in person and those who, in general, need additional support and encouragement to successfully complete,” said Kimberley Patterson, division chair of CGCC biological sciences. “Ideally the success of our model will encourage other disciplines to implement the strategies and pursue grant opportunities to support their efforts.”
Other participating life science faculty are Erica Morley and Luke Mumaw from MCC, and Jacqueline Cala and Hannah Phipps-Yonas from CGCC. MCC counseling faculty Elena Matus McDonald and Pandi Bromley, with the MCC Foundations for Student Success program, will aid in presenting workshops.
A $7.5 million state grant will enable the college to develop the new Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy (EVES). The program is made possible by a partnership with electric vehicle manufacturer, Rivian, which is expected to create an additional 1,600 jobs in the next two years alone.
The state funds will be matched with a $1.5 million private employer commitment.
HCC will develop a new auto shop used exclusively for training for EV manufacturing. The program will help meet growing needs of the region and will prepare Illinois to seize on the rapid growth of the EV industry, with Illinois jobs expected to double by 2024.
“With the new Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy, Heartland Community College will be a hub for innovation, and a resource for those looking for upskilling in a wide variety of occupations,” said HCC President Keith Cornille.
A $350,000 donation to Brookdale Community College will allow the college to provide more scholarships to women over the next 10 years. The donation came from the Woman’s Exchange of Monmouth County.
Specifically, scholarships will go to women age 25 or older living in Monmouth County who are enrolling in continuing education courses.
In 2020, the Woman’s Exchange closed its retail shop and sold the building. The proceeds from the sale made the donation to Brookdale possible.
Students pursuing degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Owens Community College will be eligible for additional scholarships. That’s due to the Choose Ohio First (COF) Grant program from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).
Owens will receive a five-year, $278,1000 grant to recruit and support cohorts of 10 to 15 students. Students pursuing one of Owens’ more than 75 STEM-focused degrees and certificates are awarded up to $1,500 per semester for fall and spring semesters only.
“This additional financial support will provide many students with the additional resources they need to prepare for in-demand jobs and grow Ohio’s talent pipeline,” said Bill Balzer, Owens’ interim president.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, will receive $100,000 to support diversity initiatives and an inclusive excellence mentoring program at HACC’s Lancaster Campus. The funding comes from the BB&T now Truist Economic Growth Fund at the Lancaster County Community Foundation.
“This generous investment in support of diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives at HACC will benefit students and employees with opportunities to better understand the changing demographics of our service region and will afford those in the Lancaster community to engage with the college in new and meaningful ways through training and education opportunities,” said HACC President and CEO John J. “Ski” Sygielski.
Gateway Technical College’s Promise 2 Finish program got a boost with a $500,000 commitment from the Gene Haas Foundation. Promise 2 Finish helps students who left college to return and earn a degree by filling the gap between financial aid and tuition costs.
In honor of this contribution, Gateway has officially named the high bay area of its SC Johnson iMET Center as the Gene Haas Innovation Alley. The space is home to many college, student and community group events, drawing thousands to the building each year to discuss solutions to build a stronger southeast Wisconsin.