Title III

Title III Grant | Purpose | Student Success Center | ACCUPLACER | Learning Support | Learning Engagement | Community-Based Learning

Strengthening Institutions

What is the Title III grant?

The Title III, Part A, Strengthening Institutions Program was established by Congress as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965.  In October 2010, Medaille College was awarded a 5-year, $2 million dollar Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  Medaille's Title III grant seeks to strengthen the institution through improving retention and graduation rates.

The purpose of the Title III program is to provide grants to eligible institutions of higher education to improve their academic programs, institutional management, and fiscal stability in order to increase their self-sufficiency and strengthen their capacity to make a substantial contribution to the higher education resources of the Nation. (*34 CFR 607.1)

Read the 2012 APR Executive Summary

Why are we eligible?

A significant number of students at Medaille College face numerous obstacles to postsecondary success and enter college with significant needs for additional academic support.  Many are low-income and/or first generation college students and non-traditional in age.  By providing access to these students and giving them the tools to succeed, Medaille contributes to a sustainable future for the City of Buffalo and the region.  In fact, 68% of Medaille students remain in the area after graduation.

How will the grant accomplish its purpose?

This grant will strengthen and centralize vital student and learning support services, improve retention, and engage students in both their learning and their community. Strong project management, essential to the success of a project designed to make transformational change, is provided by Medaille's Title III Steering Committee: Dr. Norman Muir, Title III Project Director and VP for Academic Affairs; Dr. Mary Ellen Mulvey, Learning Support Activity Director; Samantha Purpora and Dr. Brenda Fredette, Learning Engagement Activity Co-Directors.

Medaille's Title III grant project is divided into two broad based activities:

  • Learning Support
  • Centralize learning support services into a new Student Success Center
  • Rethink freshman testing and placement
  • Engage faculty in a formalized developmental mentoring of students
  • Learning Engagement
  • Provide faculty development on active learning pedagogies and high-impact practices
  • Use community-based learning to promote student engagement and fulfill the College's aspiration

How do these grant activities impact Medaille?

  1. Centralize learning support services into a new Student Success Center
    The Student Success Center brings together Academic Advising, Academic Support Center, Career Planning Center, Disability Services, and the TRiO Student Support Services Grant Program within one facility. As requested in our Title III grant application, there are now four new support positions operating out of the Student Success Center:
    • Academic Specialists in math and reading/writing
    • Academic Achievement Specialist
    • Academic Technology Specialist
  2. Rethink freshman testing and placement
    Data analysis confirms that colleges where students complete a placement test in math, writing, and reading comprehension have been better able to place their students in appropriate recommended courses in comparison to colleges that rely on SAT, ACT, or high school course work for placement decisions. Under the guidance of Dr. Norman Muir, Undergraduate Academic Dean, and a committee of faculty and staff, we are beginning to implement ACCUPLACER, a widely-used online placement testing program with good results for placement and subsequent successful completion of courses in math, writing, and reading.
  3. Engage faculty in a formalized developmental mentoring of students
    An important institutional goal is to reinvigorate the complementary role of faculty, supplemented by professional staff, in the overall advising–mentoring paradigm through direct developmental mentoring of students from freshman through senior year.  With the support of Title III and under the direction of Dr. Muir, Title III Director for Learning Support, a committee of faculty and staff is developing a coherent, college-wide program, building on the current freshman-seminar mentoring program as well as on pilot mentoring projects and activities recently launched by academic departments.
  4. Provide faculty development on active learning pedagogies and high-impact practices
    The College is re-directing faculty professional engagement beyond more narrow disciplinary concerns—toward research-based practices in effective pedagogy and high-impact educational practice.  The result of these re-focusing efforts will be to enhance the opportunity for our diverse student population to become engaged, successful learners, to create an environment of inclusive excellence, and to foster institutional effectiveness and shared community.  Samantha Purpora, Co-Activity Director for Learning Engagement, is working to implement active and supported faculty learning communities, as well as a Summer Faculty Institute focused on teaching for student success.
  5. Use community-based learning to promote student engagement and fulfill the College's aspiration
    Recent research points out high-impact practices like community-based learning benefit all students, but first-generation college students benefit even more. Students who are engaged in their learning and see connections to real-world questions and problems are retained and graduate in greater numbers.  Dr. Brenda Fredette, Co-Activity Director for Learning Engagement, is collaborating with the new Center for Community-Based Learning to develop an on-line archive for community-based learning projects and activities and to incorporate a community-based learning experience into all Medaille undergraduate programs.

By the end of the project, the College will have:

centralized its learning support services; engaged faculty in mentoring of all students; implemented a computer-based assessment tool for placement testing; built a faculty development model to address high-impact educational practices; and expanded its community-based learning curriculum to all undergraduate programs.  In addition, with help from Title III's Endowment Match, the College will have increased its endowment from $850,000 to $1,130,000 and will provide new scholarships to students.


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