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PHCC to participate in grant program
College to receive $215K grant

Friday, November 16, 2012

Patrick Henry Community College is one of four community colleges nationwide to be chosen to participate in the new Catalyst Fund grant program, and will receive a $215,000 grant as a result.

The application process for the Catalyst Fund grants was highly competitive, and the fact that PHCC is among only four in the country to receive one is “a point of pride for our community,” said PHCC President Dr. Angeline Godwin.

Catalyst Fund grants are administered by Achieving the Dream Inc., a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive nongovernmental reform network for community college student success, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

PHCC was selected for the Catalyst Fund grant because of its commitment to student-centered, evidence-based reforms and outstanding increases in student outcomes, according to a PHCC news release.

“Patrick Henry Community College is recognized as a leader in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network for its proven success and commitment to student achievement,” said Rachel Singer, vice president for community college relations and applied research with Achieving the Dream Inc. “The effective practices Patrick Henry has chosen to scale (expand) will yield important information and lessons which will be used to inform the field.”

PHCC is known as a “Leader College” in the Achieving the Dream program based on student successes and graduation rates through the use of cooperative learning. The college became an Achieving the Dream (AtD) college in 2004 as one of 26 community colleges in the nation to pilot the program, funded by the Lumina Foundation.

Demonstrated success with AtD facilitated PHCC to become one of 15 community colleges in the country to receive a Developmental Education Initiative grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009. That grant allowed PHCC to continue and broaden its cooperative education program, which paved the way for this latest grant from the Gates Foundation.

PHCC will use the Catalyst Fund grant to implement cooperative learning strategies online, as well as train faculty at other community colleges across the country. To date, PHCC has trained faculty at more than 40 community colleges nationwide.

According to Kris Landrum of PHCC, cooperative learning means students are actively involved in learning by working in groups and other formats.

“This generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help Patrick Henry Community College leverage its already successful cooperative learning program to serve even more PHCC students,” Godwin said. “We now engage and see success with more than half of our students through cooperative learning. This grant will allow us to increase that to three quarters.”

The overarching goal is to have as many students complete their college program, Landrum said.

“Postsecondary completion is one of the Gates Foundation’s major priorities,” said Suzanne Walsh, senior program officer for postsecondary success at the Gates Foundation. “We want to see most students who enroll in a community college complete what they started. Achieving the Dream Colleges have a great tradition of working with students in an intense way and effectively using evidence to guide their decision-making process. We are pleased to fund this critical initiative to scale proven interventions.”

Lessons learned from Patrick Henry will help the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network and community colleges across the nation.

Godwin and several faculty and staff at PHCC are meeting with Achieving the Dream and the other three colleges for an inaugural Catalyst Fund Kickoff Institute at the Sheraton in Silver Spring, Md, Thursday and today.

The other Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges that will receive $215,000 grants are Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas; Bunker Hill Community College in Boston; and Durham (N.C.) Technical Community College.


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