Kettering wins $95,000 grant from the State of Michigan to help increase retention of minority students

Kettering wins $95,000 grant from the State of Michigan to help increase retention of minority students

By Website Administrator | Oct 11, 2002

It's tough to build on a successful program focused on the retention of minority students, especially one that leads the state in retention rates among all colleges and universities.

It's tough to build on a successful program focused on the retention of minority students, especially one that leads the state in retention rates among all colleges and universities. But somehow Kettering's Office of Minority Student Affairs has done what some at public colleges and universities may have considered impossible.

Kettering's retention rate for minority students is 76.8 percent -- highest in Michigan and one of the best in the country.

Kettering recently received a $95,000 Select Student Support Services grant from the State of Michigan Department of Career Development. This significant award will help support the University's program titled "Enhancing Engineering Student Retention through New teaching/Learning Paradigms," which provides critical academic support to minority students studying engineering, mathematics, business management and the sciences at Kettering.

Dwight Tavada, director of the University's Office of Minority Student Affairs, and Milt Robinson, consultant to University President James E.A. John, co-authored the winning grant proposal. All three executives are thrilled that Kettering was chosen as one of the few private institutions that received funding support.

"This grant is quite an achievement for our office," Tavada explained, "especially since we are a small private institution and competed against larger state-funded colleges that continue to receive state funding. Typically, public institutions receive the majority of grant awards from this state program, so we're happy to win it this year."

Tavada also noted that the program opportunities generated by this grant would greatly enhance the school's retention rate for minority students. Currently, Kettering's rate of retention for minority students is 76.8 percent, which is highest among Michigan-based schools of higher education and also one of the highest rates in the country. Kettering has 250 minority students on campus.

As part of the grant requirements, Kettering will contribute a 30 percent match, which will effectively help Minority Student Affairs implement a program designed to assist students in succeeding in the University's rigorous academic programs. Tavada said that funds would help sponsor speakers and support activities associated with Kettering's Black Unity Congress (BUC), the school's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers(SHPE).

"We are very fortunate to win this grant given the high level of competition," Tavada said. "We expect to host and fund a variety of diversity events on campus, as well as academic programs. We believe this grant gives us an even more solid footing as we work toward further increasing our minority student retention rates and help students succeed in challenging areas ofstudy."

Some of Kettering's program components funded through this grant include supplemental instruction through the use of workshop and tutorial formats in multivariate calculus, differential equations and statistics/dynamics; and collaborative learning opportunities for students who wish to hone their skills in calculus, chemistry and physics. These formats allow students to work on academic subjects together, which builds their sense of camaraderie with peers and makes learning an enjoyable enterprise. Grant funds will also support activities such as student recognition events, assist the development of a program advisory committee and aid in faculty training.

Kettering will use grant funds during a period from Oct. 1, 2002, through Sept. 30, 2003.

For more information on this and other programs conducted by Kettering's Office of Minority Student Affairs, visit the website at http://maserver.kettering.edu, or call (810) 762-9825.

Written by Gary Erwin
(810) 762-9538
gerwin@kettering.edu