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Year 2 Grant Award Notification (2017-18)

On August 23, 2017, MCLA received notification from the U.S. Department of Education that a continuation award was made for our Title III grant. The amount of this continuation award is $443,500. This award will fund the following, as well as other, approved activities aimed at increasing students’ persistence and graduation rates:

Degree Works Launch, Training & Support

On August 28, 2017, the Degree Works implementation was completed and moved to production.

  • Degree Works will provide accurate and complete information for academic planning and degree audit utilities within Banner. This software will help students plot a course to graduation and efficiently review program requirements that have been met or are outstanding.
  • Academic Technology will conduct an initial Degree Works training workshop for faculty chairs and early adopters in early September and offer additional training workshops later this semester. Training videos were developed and available to support these workshops.
  • Title III funds will support a new Degree Works support position beginning in Year 2 – pending final approval.
  • We anticipate that academic planning using Degree Works will strongly contribute to one of the grant’s primary objectives by decreasing the percentage of students graduating with 15 or more credits beyond the 120 required from the baseline of 25% to 10% by 2021.

Math Drop-in Center

Liz Hartung is piloting the new Math Drop-in Center with support from the Chemistry, Psychology, Biology, Math, Environmental Science, and Physics Departments.

  • The Title III grant will fund peer tutors at the new Math Help Drop-in Center, which opened on September 5, 2017. The initiative to start the center came from the MCLA QUAC group as a way to address the clear need to support students mathematically for courses across multiple disciplines.
  • The math help drop-in center will be a flexible way for students to get help for their math courses as well as to solidify mathematical background needed in courses across the curriculum.
  • The drop-in center will be open approx. 16 hours per week and operate in CSI room 101, with a consistent weekly schedule including both daytime and evening hours.
  • The center will be open to any students who need math help. The center expects to serve students in math courses, students in other courses that require mathematics content, and students studying for exams (such as math portions of the MTELs or the general GRE).

FSEM (First-Year Seminar) Pilot

Amber Engelson is leading a “pilot” of the FSEM model with an eye towards refining it for Fall 2018 – faculty from the English/Communications, History, Physics, and Business Departments are participating in the pilot.

  • Pilot faculty will attend workshops run by Amber that focus on redesigning and building a new FYE course, collaborative problem solving with project-based learning, and writing successful URC materials.
  • Pilot FSEM course redesign will emphasizes high-impact practices (such as project-based learning with an undergrad research component), classroom skills to be a successful student, and a passport model where each student self-selects a certain number of relevant extra-curricular events to attend.
  • An assessment of the Pilot FSEM course will be conducted with participating students and faculty. The FSEM Pilot Faculty will review these results, present to the rest of the faculty, and solicit FSEM participants for next year.

Purchase of New Undergraduate Research Equipment

The Year 2 Title III grant award will fund equipment for the Chemistry, Biology, and Physics Departments to provide hands on learning and opportunities needed for undergraduate research and project-based learning:

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonator (NMR) - The Title III grant will fund the purchase of a benchtop model, recommended due to reduced size, cost, and readiness to be aligned with undergraduate course and lab curricula. A solid understanding of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a basic learning goal for any chemistry student, and a hands-on approach to learning is the most powerful method. Providing students with direct experience in acquiring and processing NMR spectra is extremely valuable in organic chemistry courses (one of MCLA’s gateway courses). By bringing NMR into the classroom, faculty will work with colleagues to adapt lab procedures, and students will be able to acquire their own spectra in the lab, synthesize new compounds, and conduct verification studies that focus on techniques and NMR applications in chemistry.
  • Metabolic Analysis System (Metabolic Cart) - The Title III grant will fund the purchase of ParvoMedics TrueOne 2400 metabolic measurement system for the Biology Department’s use in providing project-based learning. Several faculty members will also use the Metabolic Cart to conduct student-driven projects and research with our Biology, Athletic Training, and new Health Science undergraduates.
  • Optics Equipment (Laser) - The Title III grant will fund the purchase of a laser for the Physics Department’s use in providing project-based learning.

Purchase of New Electronic Journals to Support UR

The Year 2 Title III grant award will help increase student access to undergraduate research materials by funding the yearly subscription costs of Project Muse – Premium Journal Collection. This collection of high quality, peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journals are from leading university presses, not-for-profit publishers and prestigious scholarly societies. All collection journals available on the MUSE platform are included in our subscription to the Premium Collection. Adrienne Wootters and Maureen Horak are working toward the purchase and the marketing/communication plan.