Two Concordia University System schools have received major grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
Concordia College, Selma, Ala., is one of 96 historically black schools that were awarded grants in the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program.
The $500,000 grant, which was made available Oct. 1, is renewable for an additional four years for a total of $2.5 million. It will be used to:
- employ more faculty for teacher education and business management programs, which will enable the college to add majors to those programs.
- develop off-campus sites.
- renovate buildings on newly acquired property to increase available classroom space.
- upgrade and expand technology on campus.
“These funds are a blessing for the college because we want to expand our curriculum and provide more access to higher education through online courses and off-campus sites,” said Phyllis Richardson, director of Title III/STAARS (Student Transitional and Academic Activities for Retention and Success) at Concordia, Selma. “We had begun the planning without knowing how we would afford these changes. God, through His mercy and grace, has provided us with some resources to help us begin to achieve some of our goals.”
Richardson added that the funds “will be a great help for Concordia College, Selma, as we continue to develop our programs and to prepare students for a world that is driven by technology.”
Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., will receive annual grants of $400,000 for five years — totaling $2 million — from the government’s Strengthening Institutions Program.
The school is one of 48 higher-education institutions to receive the grant that will help the university bolster retention and graduation rates among all students.
Money from the grant will be used to strengthen four areas — academic support services, student support services, academic programs and institutional technology infrastructure.
“This grant is significant for Concordia University,” said Dr. Russell Nichols, interim CEO. “Blessed with a faculty that strives constantly to enhance academic quality and student services, Concordia is a place where students thrive, becoming prepared for fulfilling and successful service to others.
“Now there are additional resources available for that mission.”
To strengthen academic support, Concordia plans to create a summer academic preparation program for incoming students and develop a comprehensive student tracking and early-warning system. The university also will hire additional staff and purchase tutorial tools for the Academic Resource Center.
Other grant-funded plans include offering career counseling and placement services for students, expanding the family life ministries program and creating alternate instructional delivery methods over the Internet. The school also wants to develop a centralized data collection, analysis and reporting process, and create data systems and tool sets to support more effective decision-making.
Says Dr. Tim Pies, grant director: “The work we will be able to complete because of the SIP grant will not only attract students to Concordia, but will also ensure these students successfully graduate from Concordia, following the university’s mission to train leaders for the church and the world.”
Posted Oct. 27, 2010