Cameron University has received a five-year grant of $2.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions program, which will fund a new student success-focused office on the Cameron campus. The program provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve traditionally underrepresented student populations by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.
Dr. Marge Kingsley, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, will provide overall supervision and retain ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the practices and improvements supported by grant funds will be utilized in accordance with Cameron’s grant proposal.
“As part of Cameron University’s continuing commitment to student success, we recognized that the Strengthening Institutions program could make a significant impact on the university’s ability to provide wrap-around services to at-risk and underrepresented students,” Kingsley says. “We wholeheartedly believe that adding the Student Enrichment Center to our campus will play a major role in student success.”
Cameron’s Student Enrichment Center will focus on increasing persistence and completion rates, providing at-risk students with a variety of resources designed to help them complete a college degree, increasing the number of full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students, and increasing the number of students with work-based learning experiences that are aligned with in-demand industry sectors or occupations. The Center will also provide resources to help increase students’ knowledge of personal financial literacy and other skills aimed at building personal financial understanding and responsibility.
The grant will allow the addition of nine Center employees to the Cameron staff. The Center will be headed by a Coordinator of Student Success/Title III Director, who will serve as the chief liaison between the U.S. Department of Education and Cameron University. Four student success coaches will work individually with at-risk students to ensure their academic success, while a community resource coordinator will work with underserved students to ensure they have access to community resources as needed, which could include food stamp applications, housing issues, and other non-academic issues.
A work-based learning experience coordinator will direct the “CU Learn to Earn” program, which is designed to provide work-based learning experiences for at-risk students. A financial resources specialist will conduct financial literacy workshops on different topics and will provide personal financial counseling to at-risk students. The Center will also hire an administrative assistant who will coordinate clerical duties.