Faulkner University has received two grants — the Predominantly Black Institution Competitive Grant and the Predominantly Black Institution Formula Grant — to provide support for programs for minority students. These two grants represent the largest grants the university has ever received.
The five-year grants will help establish and strengthen support programs to improve the educational outcomes of traditional and non-traditional African-American students.
In partnership with Marygrove Consulting, the university has created two projects that will uplift Faulkner’s minority student population, primarily in the area of academic achievement. Work began on the programs in late 2021, with a target date for implementation of fall semester 2022. Hiring for personnel to support the grants and help develop the phases of the program implementation has begun.
“The Competitive Grant is geared to improving retention and graduation rates of traditional African American students via an integrated student support system from their first day on campus through graduation,” said Dave Rampersad, vice president of academic affairs. “The Formula Grant is geared to improving retention and program completion rates of African American and low-income students in the Executive and Professional program. Particular focus is on dedicated academic advising and retention services, improving the virtual and in-class learning environment and training faculty on the latest teaching technology to enhance and improve existing online coursework.”
Don McKnight has been hired as project director of Eagles Soar, the Formula Grant initiative. “This grant opportunity from the U.S. Department of Education provides an extraordinary opportunity for Faulkner University to create and maintain permanent pathways for African-American students, and more specifically African-American male students, to earn college degrees and achieve the ‘American Dream,’” McKnight said.
Savannah Dockins, director of the Faulkner Academic Center for Excellence, will help hire student tutors, manage tutoring opportunities, train new students to become nationally certified tutors and implement diversity training. Cindy Walker, director of Faulkner’s Quality Enhancement Plan, will liaison between McKnight and his staff to facilitate academic coaching and supplemental instruction in the areas of the Competitive Grant. Michelle Otwell, director of student services, will oversee the mentoring program, training mentors dedicated to the development of this targeted population.
Located in Montgomery, Faulkner University qualified for the grants because it is a Predominantly Black Institution. To be a PBI institution, the university must serve at least 1,000 undergraduate students, have at least 50% low-income or first-generation degree-seeking undergraduate enrollment, have a low per full-time undergraduate student expenditure in comparison to other institutions and enroll at least 40% African-American students.