The U.S. Department of Education awarded Mesa Community College with the Foundations for Student Success (FSS)/Title III grant in the fall of 2011. The $2 million grant – $400,000 per year for five years – is part of the Strengthening Institutions Program which helps Institutions of Higher Education to better serve low-income students. Because improving outcomes for developmental education students has become a priority at MCC, the Foundations for Student Success grant aims to break down barriers for students in these courses. The FSS grant objectives focus on improving the quality of developmental education programs starting with the developmental math program and moving into developmental reading and developmental English. The focus on developmental education at MCC is one of the strategies for increasing completion rates overall. Specifically, grant priorities are related to the improvement of course completion rates and improvement of persistence and graduation rates at the college.
Grant activities center on intensive, continual professional development for faculty who teach developmental education courses, the redesign of developmental courses, and the redesign of academic learning environments. Each of the core disciplines (math, reading, and English) has a 2-year implementation life cycle to incorporate faculty training and curriculum changes. A portion of grant funds are being utilized to purchase new technology/equipment for classroom and laboratory use for each core discipline. A comprehensive grant program evaluation is being conducted in conjunction with MCC’s Office of Research and Planning and ASU’s Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness.