Partner Diversity Initiatives

Men of Southwest Tennessee (M.O.S.T.)

Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) Competitive Grant project for African American male students. The goals of Project M.O.S.T. are to:

  • Increase the retention and graduation rate of African-American male students by providing them with resources that will enable them to achieve their educational and career goals;
  • Collect decision-oriented data to support alternative modalities in the academic and service environment which address needed activities to assist African American males with the challenges they face in higher education.

Project M.O.S.T. will provide services annually to 120 first-year, African American male cohort participants enrolled in scheduled developmental study courses. In addition, the program will provide a two-week summer structured program, needs assessments, and provide financial assistance. A strengths-based approach to advising promotes student achievement because it:

  1. Builds self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation
  2. Generates positive emotions that enhance students' problem-solving and capacity for creativity,
  3. Develops a wider repertoire of successful strategies and coping skills, factors which many college student retention theories attribute to student persistence (Tinto, 1993).

The data collection will track the persistence and graduation of African American males, as well as employ instruments such as CCSSE, Self-Efficacy Scale, and Proactive Coping Scale to measure student engagement, motivation, and coping skills.

Key measures of success for this program include:

  • Increases in the fall-to-spring and fall-to-fall persistence rate, and course completion hours for African American males
  • Increase in self-efficacy and proactive coping skills
  • Preparation for graduation and career readiness

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Latino Student Success

Lumina Foundation for Education's Latino Student Success Grant, coordinated through Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). Tennessee has a rapidly growing Latino population in the Nashville and Memphis communities. The Latino Student Success Grant goal is to:

  1. Make college accessible to more Tennessee Latino high school graduates through college access and success focused mentoring
  2. Facilitate the transition between high school and community college, and community college and four-year institutions, thereby aiding in college retention and completion.

Access and success in postsecondary education for Latino students will be advanced through:

  • Robust community, government, education, and workforce partnerships working to improve Latino student success
  • Enhancing Latino student college access, readiness, and success efforts at the local and state levels
  • Building on the existing College Mentor Corps (CMC), thereby leveraging resources and knowledge
  • Providing college access, readiness, and success focused services to a currently underserved area and population
  • Forwarding the local, state, and national college completion agenda through services directed to the nation's fastest growing sub-population.

Through formal partnership with Latino Memphis, Southwest Tennessee Community College (Southwest), the Memphis City Mayor's Office, K-12 High School, and Chamber of Commerce, THEC will expand the CMC to the city of Memphis, providing direct services to Latino high school students and Southwest students. The partnership will build the Latino College Mentor Corps program to best address the needs of Latino high school seniors and community college students in Southwest's service area. Through a subgrant from THEC, Latino Memphis will hire and oversee a staff of recent college graduates, serving as the Mentor Corps. Each mentor will work closely with students from the two cohorts (specified number of Latino high school seniors or students currently enrolled at Southwest). When working with high school students, the mentors will focus on college access initiatives such as academic preparation, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion, college application completion, and scholarship applications. With current college students, the focus will be on student success initiatives such as student retention, college completion, and transfers from the two-year to four-year institutions.

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Hispanic Scholarship Fund Partners

Partners consist of a group of professionals and educators who meet regularly to discuss concerns and initiatives on behalf of Hispanic constituents/residents. Under the leadership of the Community Foundation of Memphis Vice President of Grants and Initiatives, Melissa Wolowicz, the partners are planning a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Town Hall meeting for Memphis. An update from Latino Memphis about their Lumina Foundation efforts will be provided.

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