over a five-year period from the U. S. Department of Education.
The award, $450,000 per year through 2020, was effective beginning October 1, and is part of a federal
Strengthening Institutions Program grant under the Higher Education Act of 1965. The focus is on
improving retention and completion.
“The grant will primarily cover three areas,” said Tammy Russell, GOCC’s director of institutional
effectiveness and research. “They are: Increased student engagement using a student coach model;
improved teaching and learning through faculty development and classroom redesign, with an emphasis
on enhanced technology; and increased capacity to use institutional research in order to improve the
“The student coaching model addresses more intricately the needs of new students,” said Russell. “The
plan is to hire two success coaches who will engage with and focus on the needs of new students,
providing both academic and non-academic support.”
The second area of the grant focuses on improved pedagogy in teaching and learning in the classroom.
“This can mean the purchase of anything from new tables and chairs on wheels in the classroom to allow
for more active, engaged learning,” said Russell, “to updating and/or installing new technology in the
classrooms and providing faculty with specialized training on how to incorporate these resources most
The third focus is on increasing the capacity of institutional research to effectively access and use data.
The grant also supports training for faculty and staff to more independently retrieve and utilize the data
“Out of a possible 103 points, we were awarded 103 points for our proposal, which was the cutoff for the
grant,” said Russell. “They saw our incredible need and believe we have the capacity to do better through
the use of the funds.”