FIPSE Awards New Grant to Ferris State

Sept. 27, 2001

The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education, through its Comprehensive Program, has awarded a $439,742 grant to Ferris State's Structured Learning Assistance Program in the University College for the "Modeling A Successful Student Retention & Faculty Development Program." Seventy-one percent of the $620,144 total cost of the project is being federally funded by FIPSE, with the remaining 29 percent funded by the four institutions participating in the project.

The "Modeling A Successful Student Retention & Faculty Development Program" will begin on Oct. 1 and extend for a three-year period through Sept. 30, 2004.

The SLA Program is a proven and successful model that improves student pass rates. The project will disseminate the model used at Ferris State for the past seven years to four partner academic institutions, which have documented significant problems with low course pass rates and retention of academically at-risk students. SLA is an innovative program that differs from traditional supplemental instruction approaches. Through its use of mandatory student attendance and a strong faculty development component, SLA has evolved into a two-tiered learning enhancement system.

The four partner academic institutions participating in this project include Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.; Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis, Ind.; Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Ky.; and San Jacinto Community College in Houston, Texas.

John Kowalczyk, Ph.D., program coordinator of the SLA Program will serve as the overall FIPSE Project director and trainer. He will be assisted with the training of these four schools by Terry Doyle, associate professor, Center for Teaching, Learning & Faculty Development. The grant proposal was written by a team that, in addition to Kowalczyk and Doyle, included Joan Totten, department head, Developmental Programs and Curriculum, University College; William Potter, Ph.D., dean, University College; and former Ferris Grants Director Dr. Tamsey Andrews.

The FIPSE Comprehensive Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, is a grant competition designed to support innovative reform projects that hold promise as models for the resolution of important issues and problems in postsecondary education. The competition for these grants is extremely competitive. In the current fiscal year 2001-02 competition, of 1,500 preliminary proposals received by FIPSE, only 75 applicants were awarded grants.

Grants of this size must be approved by the Ferris Board of Trustees. The Board's Finance Committee voiced its approval of the project last week. The full Board will consider it at its Oct. 19 meeting.