Title III Grant Overview & Initiatives

Cleveland State Community College (CSCC) is the recipient of the Title III, Strengthening Intuitions Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Beginning October 1, 2011, CSCC will receive $400,000 per year for the next five years to implement approved project activities.

CSCC’s Title III project, Student Engagement and Service Learning, is laying the foundation for long term impact on both students and the institution.  The overall goal of the funded program is to strengthen the institution through engaging students in their learning, thereby improving student success and graduation rates.  During analysis, CSCC discovered the most critical need was to redesign instruction and develop interactive activities to better serve students in developmental and gateway courses.  In order to accomplish this, the proposed activity contains three components focused around a center of learning engagement and includes: integration of service-learning, instructional redesign and creating a Library Commons and Learning Studio. Through successful implementation of these components and fostering student engagement, CSCC will experience improved academic quality.

Service-Learning Activities: The first activity component, integration of service-learning into curriculum, strives to correct the following weaknesses identified in grant proposal: students lacked adequate instructional tools and community experiences to learn “hands-on” applications,  students lacked evidence of engagement and critical thinking skills and graduation rates are low compared to other institutions. Academic service-learning provides students with the ability to apply theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to real world situations.  Service-learning also builds leadership skills, creates a connection to the campus and community at large, emphasizes social responsibility and increases retention rates.

The activities conducted during the first project year for service-learning include: hosted statewide Service-Learning Mini Summit for Colleges, organized a community Volunteer Expo, designated service-learning on courses in college schedule, presented CSCC service-learning program at a National Conference on Service-Learning for Community Colleges, increased the number of community partners and faculty incorporating service-learning in curriculum, participated on panel to create a community volunteer platform, and application for President’s Higher Education Service Honor Roll.

Instructional Redesign Activities: The next component to improve academic quality is instructional redesign.  Identified weaknesses in this area are: high percentage of students with low academic rates of program completion in developmental and gateway courses, reliance on ineffective teaching strategies, limited faculty development and support for alternative and engaging pedagogical practices, and students lacked adequate instructional tools and community experiences to learn “hands-on” applications. CSCC began with redesign of the developmental reading and writing classes, called Learning Support on campus, because those courses can be stumbling blocks preventing students from progressing towards a degree. Students required to take these courses often get frustrated by not being able to take “real” college courses and the courses add to the length of time to degree.  The Learning Support redesign allows students to complete the courses at their own pace and in a supportive lab environment. Redesign in the Nursing and Technology areas attempts to create “hands-on” learning scenarios so that students are able to practice concepts learned in the classroom.

Activities accomplished during the first project year for Instructional Redesign include: redesigned the Learning Support Reading and Writing courses to increase student success, transitioned to online testing for the Nursing and EMT programs, offered increased clinical simulation experiences in the Nursing department, updated reading/ writing  and nursing labs, provided faculty with Turnitin anti-plagiarism software, purchased modern mechatronic equipment, and provided faculty  and staff with additional development opportunities.

Learning Studio Activities: The Learning Studio component piece completes the Title III program. Another weakness as identified in the grant proposal was that students lacked evidence of engagement and critical thinking skills in their learning as demonstrated by CSCC scores on the Community College of Student Engagement (CCSSE) results. The learning studio will create an active and collaborative learning environment for students, faculty and staff. This creative technical environment will be designed to support student research and project development while allowing self-documentation of a learning research continuum moving students from passive involvement to engaged in the process.

During the first year, CSCC accomplished the following: created the academic research and reflection period, created concept and design of the learning studio, purchased equipment for the learning studio, prepared space for library renovations to accommodate learning studio and purchased reading materials to support reading redesign.

For more information about the Title III program call 423-473-2400 or email smarlow@clevelandstatecc.edu.