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Tennessee Wesleyan University receives grant focused on improving student support services

Coming off the news of being ranked one of the region’s best and a top value school, Tennessee Wesleyan received more great news that demonstrates the University’s dedication to student support and success.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018, TWU administrators were provided official notification that the school is the most recent recipient of the Title III Program – Strengthening Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund student support initiatives. The anticipated $2,000,000 funding for this grant will be dispersed throughout the next five years – starting this year.

In an internal communication to faculty and staff, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Grant Willhite shared how the University plans to utilize the funds. “With this transformative grant, TWU will transition the Merner-Pfeiffer Library into a Learning Commons complete with collaborative learning spaces, a teaching and learning classroom, and instructional technology, fully staff the Mosher Success Center with success coaches targeted at students struggling academically, underwrite the purchase of retention software to better track, in real time, student success in and out of the classroom and fund an instructional technologist position to provide support to faculty as TWU strives to incorporate the newest educational technology into the classroom.”

Dr. Willhite’s description of the initiatives helps to better understand how the goals of the project are focused on improving teaching and learning opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. Tennessee Wesleyan has carried a proud tradition of student support since opening in 1857, and the Title III grant will ensure that the school will continue that support and improve services available to the 1,015 current students and the many future students on the way.

As a key player in the daily lives of TWU students, Dr. Scott Mashburn will serve as the lead on this project and oversee that the grant is being used to achieve the goals of improving academic and student success at the University. As Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Mashburn sees first-hand how the outlined initiatives will benefit students, faculty, staff and alumni. “Through improving resources around campus and providing quality learning spaces in and out of the classroom, we are giving students the opportunity to explore and grow during their time at Wesleyan.” He adds, “the student experience is much more than what happens in the classroom. We recognize that and hope to bring a consistent academic experience to all our students across the campus.”

The receipt of this grant is due in part to the dedication from multiple departments and offices on the campus, as well as the community. With a large portion of the student population residing in the 3rd District of Tennessee, Congressman Chuck Fleischman recognized the benefits this grant would bring to the area and has been a big supporter from the beginning.

This project is helping our students get to the finish line, according to University President, Dr. Harley Knowles. “Preparing our students to go out in their communities and be agents of change in the world is important to everyone at Tennessee Wesleyan. We are excited about the opportunities this grant will provide our campus to ensure that we are able to do that for years to come.”

Complete details about the Title III program can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website. Dr. Mashburn and other University administrators are already beginning the planning stages of many of the initiatives and look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Tennessee Wesleyan University, founded in Athens, Tenn., in 1857, is a comprehensive liberal arts institution affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The University offers more than 30 academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level and is dedicated to supporting and mentoring students as they explore and discover their purpose.