Focus on Student Success Grants Program

PAST AWARDS


During the 2010-2011 academic year, two proposals were funded by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about each proposal follows.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, one proposal was approved for funding by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about this proposal follows.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, one proposal was approved for funding by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about this proposal follows.


Project title: Improving Student Success Through a Strength-Based Leadership Program

Primary author:

  • Arinze Nkemdirim Okere, College of Pharmacy


Secondary authors:

  • Andrea Wirgau, Doctorate in Community College Leadership Program
  • Michael Bouthillier, College of Pharmacy
  • Jacqueline Morse, College of Pharmacy
  • David Bennett, College of Pharmacy
  • Brooke Moore, Humanities Department and Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning


Abstract:

With increasing enrollment in US colleges and universities, ensuring that an effective strategy is in place to foster student success and overall retention is a challenge and one that can be rather costly. The primary objective of this 3-year pilot study is to develop and administer a leadership program to improve both student success rates and overall retention by helping students identify, accept, and apply their strengths. As has been shown by other college-based leadership programs, it is anticipated that this strength-based leadership program will contribute to improving student success, help at-risk students become successful through mentoring, and improve the overall program retention rate.

Approved budget: $4,470.00

Status: Project began in Fall 2013


Project title: Improving Success in Mathematics with a Quantitative Literacy Course

Primary authors:  

  • Victor I. Piercey, College of Arts and Sciences, Mathematics Department
  • Kirk Weller, College of Arts and Sciences, Mathematics Department (Department Head)


Secondary authors

  • Joe Tripp, College of Arts and Sciences, Mathematics Department
  • Richard Griffin, College of Arts and Sciences, Social Sciences Department
  • Richard Hewer, College of Business, Accountancy, Finance & Information System Department


Abstract: 

The goal of this project is to increase the proportion of the student body successfully completing the university-wide mathematics requirement. The current required mathematics course focuses on procedural fluency without linking content to relevant contexts. This may be appropriate for students who will ultimately take calculus, but a majority of degree programs at Ferris do not require mathematics beyond the current university requirement. Failure to complete this course contributes to retention problems.

We propose the design of a quantitative literacy course focused on financial literacy and public policy. This course will align with the Ferris General Education Task Force's recommendations. The course will also include a service learning component. We believe that offering an alternative course in which mathematics is contextualized and relevant will result in increased student engagement, which in turn will lead to a higher completion rate.

Approved budget: $19,552.00

Status: Project began in Spring 2013


Project Title:  An Exploration of Perceptions of Advising at Ferris State University and Their Relationships to Student Retention

Authors:

  • Andy Karafa, College of Arts and Sciences, Social Sciences Department
  • Anne Marie Gillespie, College of Arts and Sciences


Abstract:

The purpose of this research is twofold. First, we intend to better understand perceptions of advising within the College of Arts and Sciences. Although student perceptions are of primary importance, we will also assess parental and faculty perceptions.

Second, we have designed a study that will add significantly to the advising literature. According to seminal research by Tinto (1975), student persistence can be predicted by a variety of variables including academic and social integration. Although the two key variables, social and academic integration, are likely predicted by advising, few studies (e.g., Bai & Pan, 2009) have specifically examined advising in relation to this model. This study will do so. Further, we plan to extend this model by examining student retention by way of industrial/organizational variables (e.g., see Bean, 1983), namely organizational commitment (e.g., Meyer & Allen, 1991) and intention to quit. Specifically, we predict that student perceptions of advising will be positively related to social and academic integration. Both forms of integration will, in turn, predict student commitment. Student commitment is then expected to relate to intention to quit.

A student’s perceptions of advising are likely influenced by expectations. These expectations may be impacted, at least in part, by parental expectations. Therefore, we will also examine whether student perceptions are moderated by parental perceptions. In addition, faculty perceptions of advising will be compared to those of students in order to examine the degree of shared and divergent perceptions.

The data will be obtained via questionnaire. The questionnaire will include measures of academic and social integration, student commitment to Ferris, intention to quit, parental expectations of advising, and student and faculty perceptions of advising.

Approved budget:  $11,970.50

Status:  Project began in Summer 2011; currently in-progress


Project Title:  Making Opportunities for Struggling Students (MOST)

Authors:

  • Deb Cox, University College, Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services Department
  • Mikael Snitker-Magin, University College, Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services Department
  • Julie Rudolph, University College, Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services Department
  • Bea Griffith-Cooper, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning


Abstract:

The purpose of this project is to provide the costs associated with assessment and testing for students who (a) have not been diagnosed with a learning disability or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and (b) demonstrate significant learning problems that may be attributed to either or both conditions. Students identified as having these conditions through a voluntary assessment will be provided financial assistance to be tested for a learning disability and/or ADHD, receive a written report from the tester, explanation of the results, and recommendations for accommodations and services that the student can use to improve his or her likelihood of academic success. For ethical reasons, a licensed psychologist outside of the University who is trained in psychometric measures will complete the learning disability and/or ADHD testing, the average cost of which is $500. Supporting students by paying for psychological testing will help students to understand their learning challenges. By identifying, diagnosing, and accommodating these individuals during their postsecondary experiences, we also help them to both understand their challenges to educational success and make appropriate and adaptive career choices as they leave the college environment and enter the workforce.

Approved Budget:  $5,000

Status:  Project began in Summer 2011; currently in-progress