ISU Lands Highly-Competitive $2.38M Student Mentoring Grant

ISU Lands Highly-Competitive $2.38M Student Mentoring Grant

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Indiana State University a five-year, $2.38 million Strengthening Institution Program (SIP) grant to further boost mentoring efforts.

Extensive research evidences the value of mentoring. SIP grants help higher education institutions expand their ability to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management and/or fiscal stability of eligible institutions.

“The SIP grant program is highly competitive, and I was very pleased to hear State was selected for a grant,” said Mike Licari, vice president for academic affairs and provost. “We are on a positive trajectory at State with respect to our commitment to students. This grant represents an important affirmation and boost that can help us further differentiate Indiana State as a college destination of choice.”

The intent of this grant is to further support Indiana State’s existing mentoring programs, to build institutional capacity for high quality mentoring, including in places where mentoring does not currently exist and the need is evident, to identify opportunities for coordinated activity, and to also support faculty in their engagement roles with low-income and historically marginalized students. There are also funds to support the development of physical space to enhance visibility for mentoring and training/development.

“We are so pleased to receive this grant, and the opportunity to support and build on existing mentoring program excellence, hopefully in a way that ISU can become a national model in working with low income, first generation and students of color,” said Josh Powers, associate vice president for student success and the grant’s principal investigator. “Visioning dialogue with units already engaged in mentoring will be a first step. The intent is not to take over mentoring, but rather to support their success in new ways afforded by the resources of this grant.”

Bailey Bridgewater, executive director for student success innovation and co-project director for the grant, will be playing an important coordinating role.

“The most exciting thing about this project is that it will allow us to bring together alumni, faculty and peer mentoring to create a collaborative support system tailored to each student,” Bridgewater said. “We’ll be leveraging innovative efforts that already exists on campus and making well-trained mentors easily accessible for anyone who wants to be part of that relationship.”

Kara Harris, associate dean in the College of Technology will also be providing important leadership for the grant as a co-project director.

“Receiving this grant right now is so opportune, particularly as we are moving forward with some new mentoring initiatives in our college for women in STEM and students in the new engineering program,” Harris said. “To know it will be a campus-wide effort and opportunity is fantastic.”

Molly Hare, director of the Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence and project specialist, will be assisting on the faculty side.

“The funds from this grant will enable the hire of a faculty fellow who will provide leadership for a mentoring certificate experience for faculty,” Hare said. “This element will invest in faculty with respect to their skills and insights with pedagogy and engagement of students from diverse and/or marginalized backgrounds.”

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