Ohio Dominican University Receives $2 Million Federal Grant for New Student Programming



COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) will receive a five-year $2 million federal grant that will assist the university in expanding its services to low-income students. Funding for the grant, entitled “Strengthening Institutions Program authorized under Title III, Part A of the Higher Education Act of 1965” will go into effect October 1, 2008. The grant will expire September 30, 2013.

“This is the largest grant ODU has received and it will enable us to expand and implement new student retention and success programs for individuals who require specific resources to be successful at Ohio Dominican,” said ODU President Brian P. Nedwek, Ph.D. “Our student development area is working with all levels of the institution to develop quality programs that will be effective in helping students adapt to learning in a community environment and living well.”

The Strengthening Institutions Grant helps eligible institutions of higher learning to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

During the 2008-2009 school year, ODU’s Leadership & Student Success Department will begin working on several new student retention and success programs including a Summer Transition and an Early Warning System. The Summer Transition initiative will provide a bridge to the social and academic challenges of the university for students who are potentially at-risk. Initially, ODU will provide this program to 20 students next summer (2009) with the goal to grow enrollment to 60 students by the end of the grant (2013). The Early Warning System will alert faculty, staff and administrators when students are encountering issues that could affect their success at the university.

ODU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs has also recognized the need to assist first-year students of color in their transition to campus life. Subsequently, “Stepping Stones For Success” was created in an effort to provide a pre-orientation program which creates social connection with the utilization of academic resources—both essential in assisting first-year students as they adjust to a new campus environment. All first-year students of color are invited to participate in this program. It was operational last summer, and over 20 students enrolled.

In addition to providing additional services, ODU will add several new positions to oversee these new programs including:

  • Part-time Title III Coordinator/Activity Director
  • Database Analyst to assist development of the Early Warning System
  • Full-time Student Success Specialist to help the Summer Transition Program
  • Full-time Academic Resource Center Specialist to coordinate ongoing academic support services for students at risk.

Mandy Powell, Director of Leadership and Student Success, will serve as the part-time Title III Coordinator/Activity Director. The university will hire the remaining positions this year.

“This is an important time not only for Ohio Dominican but for the students of today and tomorrow,” said Jamie Caridi, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Retention. “We want our students to be successful at Ohio Dominican and in life.”

Of the grant, $250,000 will be placed in Ohio Dominican University’s endowment fund, and those Title III funds will be matched by other funds raised by the university.