In 2012, Fairmont State University was one of only 15 applicants nation-wide selected to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program. This five-year grant, totaling nearly $2 million, has enabled Fairmont State’s College of Science & Technology and School of Business to pilot a project designed to improve student success in targeted high-risk courses—the courses that traditionally have high rates of D's, F's and withdrawals.
What is Title III?
Title III Strengthening Institutions Program is a competitive grant program administered by the United States Department of Education. Through the Title III Strengthening Institutions Program, grants are awarded to Institutions of Higher Education to pilot projects that are geared toward increasing student success and retention. Title III funds projects focused on faculty development, planning, establishing endowment funds, administrative management and the development and improvement of academic programs.
How will Title III benefit FSU?
The College of Science & Technology and the School of Business collaborated to develop and pilot a project designed to help students succeed in targeted high-risk courses—such as Physics, Chemistry, Accounting and Economics—by enhancing the teaching and learning experience. To do this, the curricula will be revitalized to include collaborative and experiential learning, supplemented by student peer mentoring programs and new instructional technology tools. Experiential learning, or active learning, includes activities like classroom simulation, classroom experimentation, undergraduate research opportunities, job shadowing, internships and practicums. This interactive approach to learning will encourage participation and achievement, as well as prepare the students for “real-world” performance.
Throughout the five-year grant period, an investment of nearly $2 million will fund a number of updates and additions to the College of Science & Technology and the School of Business to promote experiential and collaborative learning and provide a technology-rich environment, including:
- Student peer mentoring programs in the College of Science & Technology and the School of Business
- “Lecture Capture” technology to extend learning beyond the classroom, enabling students to access past lectures for review and to prepare for in-class collaborative activities by completing pre-recorded learning modules before class
- A LearnLab in the School of Business (located in 104 Jaynes Hall) to provide a flexible environment for collaborative learning and peer mentoring
- New “Smart” classrooms
- iPads and laptops to ensure students will have access to technology in the classroom
- New equipment and supplies in the science and technology labs
- Faculty development for integrating experiential, collaborative and technology-rich learning in their courses
- A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Learning Coordinator and a Business Learning Coordinator to work with faculty on curriculum redesign and to coordinate the student peer mentoring program
- An endowment challenge in the last two years of the grant to leverage philanthropic support for the University by providing Federal funds to match private donations
Ultimately, our goal is student success. We want to help students be successful in even the most challenging classes they will face. By targeting the courses with the highest rates of D's, F's and withdrawals, the Title III grant will provide technology tools, student peer mentoring and experiential and collaborative learning opportunities that we hope will give students the extra academic support they need to not only survive but to thrive. We want to help students surmount the obstacles that stand between them and academic success, so they can “achieve their professional and personal goals.”