It was a happy day on campus at Holy Family University.
University President Sister Maureen McGarrity and other faculty members were overjoyed to learn that the university was awarded a $2 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant from the U.S. Deptartment of Education. It is the only university in the city to be awarded the grant.
The school will use the money to help create a new center for learning and teaching that will provide students and faculty alike with individualized support. The university hopes to identify a director of the center within the coming year as it establishes a construction timeline.
“We want our students to make the most of their time here and ensure they can find a career at the end of their four-year degree,” McGarrity said. “This allows us to put into place a much better infrastructure to give them a leg up for the success we want for them in the future.”
More than half of the student population enters as first-generation college students, McGarrity said. The new center will provide students at risk of poor academic performance with success counselors who will teach them skills they may not be equipped with like how to read a syllabus and successfully navigate through classes.
The center will take a two-prong approach and coach faculty as well. The director will be responsible for training faculty how to handle all students, including those with disabilities.
“We want to help faculty navigate those waters and help students find a school-life balance,” said Rochelle Robbins, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
McGarrity said the existing Center for Academic Enhancement will be moved to the library, which will be expanded and renovated.
The grant will also provide funding for additional tutors in the Center for Academic Enhancement as well as graduate assistants in the school’s career center. The funds will also support consultation from the Gardner Institute to improve delivery of gateway courses and course delivery overall.
Holy Family previously received a Title III grant in 2010, which went toward creating the Office of Institutional Research.
“The university was founded to serve the neighborhood population and students who didn’t have the opportunity to pursue their education. With this center we will stay true to that mission,” McGarrity said.