NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder College has been awarded a $2.5 million grant over a five-year period for the purpose of promoting student success.

“This is very good timing on this grant funding because we have a number of initiatives that we’re working on through our strategic plan to try to improve our student success rate and retention and graduation rates,” President Jennifer Methvin said of the federal Title III grant.

One of those initiatives is "Connect," which is intended to boost student progress and completion, according to a college news release.

The project’s main goals include technology upgrade, a cohort program and a new compressed instructional format, said Glenn Coltharp, vice president of academic affairs.

The compressed instructional format will break up a semester into two eight-week quarters to allow students to take fewer but longer classes so they can better focus in few areas of study and manage their time more efficiently, he said.

“It helps them become more focused on what they need to do,” Coltharp said.

The cohort program, which is voluntary, will offer students taking general classes the opportunity to enroll in the same courses as their peers, Coltharp said.

The program will be divided in two sections with 25 students in each cohort.

Coltharp said each section can go through the program as a group, and study with and support one another. "We can meet with them as a group and offer them tutoring and support," he said.

He noted he has seen research indicating that when students go through a cohort model with their peers they are more likely to be successful.

Crowder is also looking to upgrade its technology infrastructure by improving internet access for its students and faculty on campus, Coltharp said.

The grant will also go toward additional advising and supplemental support, among other things, according to the news release.

Crowder graduated 1,118 students in the 2016-17 academic year, which is nearly a 22 percent increase over the previous academic year’s record number of 919 students, according to the news release.

“We’re excited,” Coltharp said, referring to the grant project objectives. “We’re very proud of our rate now, but this will gives us a chance to improve it even more.”

History

The Title III program is a federal effort established in 1965 designed to support and enhance the education system. Last time Crowder was awarded a Title III grant was in 2010. That nearly $2 million grant expired in 2015.

Follow Ines Kagubare on Twitter at @InesKagubare.

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