Washington State University has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will support low-income and first-generation students preparing for careers as K-12 teachers.
The grant will fund the Teacher Preparation Student Support Services project, serving 140 participants each year for five years. It will provide the students with opportunities for academic development, assistance with college requirements, and motivation toward the successful completion of their degrees.
A search is underway for a Project Director who will supervise WSU graduate students serving as advisors. The SSS project, which will include services, programming, activities, mentoring opportunities, financial assistance and other mechanisms designed to boost levels of persistence, good academic standing and graduation rates.
The grant was the result of collaboration between the Office of the Provost and multiple academic units and faculty, including Tariq Akmal, Interim Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, and Joyce Ehrlinger, Assistant Professor of Psychology, whose psychological research on mindset, belonging, and effective coaching helped inform the project and the student support structure.
By enhancing the support for teacher preparation students, WSU is ensuring more highly qualified teachers will be placed in Washington schools. In addition, these new teachers will come from low-income and first generation backgrounds and will provide teaching, advising, and mentoring in a state with a growing population of low-income K-12 students who aspire to be the first in their family to attend college.
The SSS project will be located and operate exclusively on WSU’s Pullman campus in the College of Education. Having SSS placed directly in the academic unit of the students they are serving will enable convenient student access to services and create a positive cycle of scholarly focus within the project and a student success focus within the college.
The Teacher Prep Student Support Services project will provide additional backing for WSU students alongside other successful programs like the College Assistance Migrant Program, TRIO, First Scholars, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and others. These programs are consistently boosting retention rates and graduation rates among students they serve, a population which is growing at WSU and throughout the state.
The Student Support Services project demonstrates WSU’s commitment to providing a “Transformative Student Experience,” as outlined in Theme 2 of the Strategic Plan. It also promotes the Grand Challenge theme of “Advancing Opportunity and Equity.”
The Office of the Provost invites opportunities for collaboration based upon this model of supporting student success. Please send your ideas, suggestions and feedback to Michael Highfill, Director of Research and Proposal Development for Student Success, at firstname.lastname@example.org.