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UACCB receives $2.25 million grant

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) has announced the school has received a $2.25 million Title III Strengthening Institution Program (SIP) grant award from the U.S. Department of Education for the “Better Teaching, Better Learning” project.

The Strengthening Institution Program is designed to help higher education institutions expand their capacity to serve at-risk students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability, UACCB said in a media release.

UACCB’s “Better Teaching, Better Learning” project evolved with the campus integration of Guided Pathways. Two workgroups focused on the topics of teaching and technology. The first group, the Teaching and Learning workgroup, was co-chaired by Susan Tripp. The second group, an ad hoc Teaching Technology workgroup, was chaired by the late Dr. Jo Stephens. The two workgroups discussed methods of how the institution could invest in innovation and best practices. Dr. Anne Austin and Dr. Brian Shonk, assisted by campus constituency, worked with Ramona Munsell and Associates to develop the grant.

The $2.25 million, five-year grant will provide funding to allow faculty to participate and gain certification from Quality Matters (QM), a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting and improving the quality of online education and student learning, as well as the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

According to the organization’s website, “the ACUE prepares, credentials, and provides on-going support to faculty in the use of evidence-based teaching practices that promote student engagement, persistence to graduation, career readiness, and deeper levels of learning. Faculty who satisfy the requirements of ACUE’s courses through institutional partnerships or open enrollment courses earn certificates in effective college instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education.”

Through the grant, UACCB faculty will also have the opportunity to receive training on utilizing reports through Blackboard Analytics. The reporting will allow earlier identification of student needs and student interventions. This effort should increase student academic success and improve student persistence and retention.

In addition, a Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence will be developed, which will support inquiry and access to the most current and innovative teaching and learning techniques. The funding to assist in the development and redesign of educational materials utilizing Open Educational Resources (OCR) will also be provided through the Title III grant. The grant also provides funding for additional personnel to support the grant activities.

“We are thrilled to receive news of the grant award,” said Chancellor Deborah Frazier. “Since March, the UACCB faculty and staff have demonstrated resilience and a strong desire to engage and encourage students during challenging and difficult times. The Title III grant will allow the institution to create teaching and learning environments with one focus, academic student success, which is the key motivator that drives our campus community.”

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