Collaborative Opportunity Grant

  • Collaborative Opportunity Grant
  • Collaborative Opportunity Grant

Project Summary

Collaborating for Change is a six-year initiative implemented by Urban Serving Universities (USU) and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to work with public urban research institutions planning and implementing transformational-- often disruptive-- campus practices to advance student success. These transformations are particularly focused on admitting, retaining, educating, and graduating high-need, traditionally at-risk students while reducing costs, reexamining campus business models, and fostering mutually beneficial campus-community engagements. 

The University of South Alabama (USA) Collaborative Opportunity proposal builds on the transformative initiative of Pathway USA and the anticipated scale-up to serve a more diverse student base.  USA has been encouraged by the commitment of the community colleges to collaborate; however, there is a significant need to redesign college algebra course at USA with the active involvement of the community college partners. Because USA is seeking to increase access for socioeconomically diverse populations, and because the community colleges serve a large share of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students, the college algebra course redesign yields greater urgency to ensure students who transfer are supported to, and through, graduation. 

The Center for Integrative Studies, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CISSTEM) will lead the USA Collaborate Opportunity proposal, headed by Dr. Andre Green, CISSTEM Executive Director. CISSTEM will coordinate the planning, communications, operations, evaluations, and reporting for the project in collaboration with the Innovation in Learning Center (Dr. Shiladitya Chaudhury, Executive Director), the Office of Student Academic Success and Retention (Dr. Nicole Carr, USA Associate Vice President), Leadership and Teacher Education, College of Education (Dr. Christopher Parrish, Assistant Professor), and the Department of Math and Statistics (Ms. Sridevi Chilukuri, Ms. Sonna Farmer and Ms. Leslie Whiston, Instructors). In addition, participation will include the USA Transfer Student Task Force. 

The USA Collaborative Opportunity project collaborations partners are the faculty and the students from Bishop State Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The K-12 participation will include the faculty and students of the Chickasaw City Schools and the Acceleration Day and Evening Academy, Mobile Area Education Foundation.

Project Goals & Impacts

The USA Collaborative Opportunity proposes focus on reducting "transfer shock" by expanding the outreach, recruitment, and mentoring strategies, and by improving course success in USA classes by creating "one-college algebra course" - aka, One Math Along the Gulf Coast. The investment areas for the USA proposal are Engaging Faculty at the three community colleges and USA and Integrating and Strengthening K-16 Systems

  1. The faculty engagement at the community colleges and USA will include collaborative discussions of aligning student learning outcomes and course syllabi as well as the development of online resources for students on all campuses in support of learning college algebra. To improve faculty capacity and support for students, discussions will target advising and curriculum mapping processes that ease student transfer shock and complement the collaboration of faculty development and engagement. 
  2. The second investment area, Integrating and Strengthening K-16 Systems, will strengthen the current collaborations with the local public and independent school systems (in the USA service area) to send a united message to socioeconomically diverse student and families about how access to community college can lead to a four-year degree at USA. 

Project Leadership

Dr. Nicole Carr, Associate Vice President, Student Academic Success and Retention 

Dr. Andre Green, Executive Director, CISSTEM

Dr. Kathy Thompson, Director, CISSTEM

Dr. Shiladitya Chaudhury, Executive Director, Innovation in Learning Center

Dr. Sue Mattson, Assistant Director, Course Development, Innovation in Learning Center

Dr. Nicole Carr, Associate Vice President, Student Academic Success and Retention

Mr. Robert Charlebois, Transfer Coordinator, Pathway USA, Student Academic Success   and  Retention

Ms. Sonna Farmer, Instructor, Department of Math and Statistics

Ms. Sridevi Chilukuri, Instructor, Department of Math and Statistics

Ms. Leslie Whiston, Instructor, Department of Math and Statistics

Dr. Christopher Parrish, Assistant Professor of Math Education, Leadership and Teacher Education, College of Education 

Fund Source

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation