Alma Receives CIC/Walmart College Success Award
A $100,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Walmart Foundation will enable Alma College to expand opportunities for first-generation students — those who are the first in their families to attend a postsecondary institution — to succeed both in college and beyond.
Alma College is one of 30 colleges and universities across the nation selected to receive CIC/Walmart College Success Awards through a competitive application process. The grants, jointly administered by the CIC and the Walmart Foundation, are designed to strengthen programs that support the retention and success of students whose parents never went to college.
At Alma, the grant funding will support First-Generation Connections, a campus-wide initiative that will enhance Alma’s existing framework for supporting student success, says Michael Selmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“About 40 percent of our students come from families in which neither parent has earned a college degree,” says Selmon. “Alma has attracted first-generation students for many reasons, including our small campus size, an emphasis on personalized education, and our commitment to funding students at all income levels.
“The First-Generation Connections program is designed to help students who come from families unfamiliar with higher education learn about college expectations and connect with peers,” says Selmon. “The program was developed collaboratively among many areas of our campus, and so will give them links to resources throughout the College.”
First-Generation Connections will expand current efforts that encourage students to continue their studies through graduation, including academic support, peer mentoring, residence hall life and service learning programs.
“We want our students to anticipate the choices they will face in college and define in advance what they want from these choices,” says Karen Klumpp, vice president for enrollment. “With the additional connection opportunities, we can better help them recognize obstacles and identify strategies for overcoming them. In addition, we want them to encounter role models who can help them navigate their campus experience and achieve college success.”
The program will feature an extensive mentoring program that matches first-generation students with both faculty members and peers for frequent dinners and other forms of informal interaction. The College also will reach out to students and their families with information about career development and choosing majors. In addition, the program will provide $100 bookstore credits and $3,000 junior opportunity grants redeemable for expenses related to a Spring Term travel course or summer research project. A part-time project coordinator will administer the program.
The CIC/Walmart College Success Awards program was launched in 2008 when 20 colleges and universities were selected for awards. The program targets small and mid-size private institutions as important players in the federal government’s call for increased degree completion in higher education, says CIC President Richard Ekman.
“We are delighted by the recognition that this second grant from the Walmart Foundation gives to the role played by private colleges in educating first-generation students,” states Ekman in the organization’s national news release. “Small and mid-sized private institutions have moved beyond a focus on access to a record of unequalled success in retaining and graduating low-income and first-generation students.”
The CIC/Walmart College Success Awards program will include a conference in 2011, online networking opportunities, and a final publication on best practices from participating colleges and universities.
Other $100,000 award winners are:
Alverno College, WI; Berea College, KY; Catawba College, NC; Clark Atlanta University, GA; College of Notre Dame of Maryland; DePaul University, IL; Elizabethtown College, PA; Franklin College, IN; Guilford College, NC; Lynchburg College, VA; Mars Hill College, NC; Mercyhurst College, PA; Mills College, CA; Notre Dame de Namur University, CA; Rosemont College, PA; Stetson University, FL; Stevenson University, MD; Thomas College, ME; and University of St. Francis, IL.
The ten $50,000 award winners are:
Cardinal Stritch University, WI; Chaminade University of Honolulu, HI; Defiance College, OH; Emmanuel College, MA; Eureka College, IL; Heritage University, WA; McKendree University, IL; Saint Augustine’s College, NC; Wabash College, IN; and Woodbury University, CA.
For more information about the CIC/Walmart College Success Awards and the programs of the 30 winners, visit the CIC website.
Posted: Wed, May 19th, 2010 at 10:18AM