DMC recieves STEM grant

Maria Chavez takes advantage of the services available in the St.Clair building through STEM grants.

Eddie Puente/Associate Editor

Del Mar College has recently received news that the college will receive two HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions) Title V grants. The first grant is the HSI STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Success Initiative grant totaling $869,656,000 for the first year.  This grant is scheduled for five years with a total amount of $4.34 million dollars.

DMC Director of Title V/ Student Success Center Agnes Flores was contacted last week by the office of The Honorable Randolph “Blake” Farenthold, U.S. Representative for Texas’ 27th congressional district informing  her of the serendipitous decision to make available these opportunities to improve DMC .

The second grant is the Title V Celebrando Educacion Cooperative grant between DMC and Coastal Bend College for $700,000 marked for the first year. It is a five year grant totaling $3.5 million dollars. According to the Department of Education website, the Title V Program is not a scholarship or fellowship program for individuals or for research. The program is designed to support institutions of higher education that are HIS’s.

The HSI STEM grant has three components to it; the first component is the expansion of academic structures. The hope is to draw new students into the STEM degree programs and increase the number of degree completions within those majors. The second component is the development and enhancement of support systems. This is another method of improving retention and completion of STEM degree programs, also including transfer rates. One way to reach this goal will be the use of Intensive Supplemental and tutoring services. The third component involves instructional redesigning. This will provide professional development for faculty that will improve instructional classroom strategies. DMC will receive visits to the campus by experts from various STEM fields that will hold conferences presenting new technology, ideas, and strategies for the classroom.

The overall result hopefully brings more students to the STEM programs at DMC and the establishment of transfer agreements with more universities for students pursuing higher degrees in the STEM fields. Agnes Flores, Director of the Student Success Center added, “With this STEM grant, we will be working with one of the professors to introducing the iPad to students, and those students will be using the iPad in the classroom.” The Title V Celebrando Educacion, which will be shared with Coastal Bend College. CBC has branches in Alice, Kingsville, and Pleasanton, with its main campus located in Beeville. This grant’s focus will be on two major activities. First, it will work to improve retention and completion rates. In order to achieve these goals, intensive tutoring services and enhanced counseling as well as advising for first time students must be met. The second activity will be to increase enrollment in technical and professional occupational fields of study. To accomplish this escalation, improving student knowledge of the programs available, college and career awareness events will be held. The importance of involving students enrolled both in high school and college level courses will help expand the awareness of these fields. When we talk about dual credit, it means the student is simultaneously enrolled in a high school program and a college program. Dual credit really means they are getting credit for the same course at the high school and it is college level.

So what does this mean for DMC? Flores says, “The grants are huge because they help us with support service programs that give more opportunities for tutoring, professional development to the faculty and staff and it is a vehicle whereby students can have access to the technology that will enhance their learning process which will ultimately result in completing the program and going on to the university level.”

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