CSU-Pueblo recipients of Wal-Mart Minority Student Success Award


    The Institute for Higher Education Policy and Wal-Mart Foundation announced, in a press release, the first units of Wal-Mart Minority Student Success Institutions to receive $100,000 granted by the awards program.

    Colorado State University-Pueblo is among the institutions because of its instrumental efforts of retention of students, the Pueblo Chieftain reported. They further stated the grants will help build on programs that will support first-generation students, providing supplemental instruction and tutoring, as well as faculty and student mentoring programs.

     Approximately 41 percent of students enrolled at minority-serving institutions are first-generation, compared to 30 percent of students at predominately white institutions due to their overrepresentation of first-generation students, Magaret McKenna said, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation said.

     Minority-serving institutions are ideally situated to improve retention and persistence gaps for these students, she said.

     “Wal-Mart Foundation is committed to helping our nation’s young adult’s live better-supporting programs that provide access to higher education is a key part of our commitment,” McKenna said.

     CSU-Pueblo is one of 15 institutions selected to receive the award and the only one from Colorado. 

     “CSU-Pueblo is honored to be selected as one of just several outstanding higher education institutions nationwide to receive the Wal-Mart Minority Student Success Award,CSU-Pueblo President Joe Garcia said. 

     In a press release the institute said, in total the awards program will select 30 minority-serving institutions this year.

     The first group has been selected and will begin their work in summer 2009.The second set of minority-serving institutions will be selected through a highly competitive application process, and they will begin their work spring 2010.

     “The planned initiatives at participating minority serving institutions will serve as important models for the broader higher education community, particularly for institutions with significant concentrations of this important student population.” Institute for higher education policy President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. said.

     Derek Lopez, Ph.D. director of first year programs, at CSU-Pueblo and Erin Frew interim assistant provost for assessment and student learning will lead the grant activities at CSU-Pueblo.                          

     Lopez, initiator of the writing of the grant for CSU-Pueblo, said his intention when writing the grant was to involve all the general education departments across the campus, specifically those with general education classes with the highest failure rates like math and science.  He said he has been working with the biology and chemistry department and is hoping to get more departments involved.

     “I’m looking forward to working with Derek on the Wal-Mart grant it’s going to be helping with first year–generation students. I believe that these students’ need the support programs.” Trujillo-Aranda, director of student support services said, “Sometimes the student does not get the support they need from home.

    At times their families don’t understand the importance of college and student support services have had to help educate them, as well, Trujillo-Aranda said.

     Sharon Hatton Montoya, director of student academic services, and Michael Geannetto, coordinator of general education tutoring will do most of the supplemental instruction, Lopez said.

     The role of a supplemental instruction leader is to help with the learning process, Trujillo-Aranda said. They will attend classes with the student and are expected to meet with the student afterwards to review.

    Team leaders will include; Carol Langer, Brenda Trujillo-Aranda, Himon Robles.

    “We are excited to work with such an array of institutions, all of which are committed to enrolling and ensuring the academic success of first-year generation students, “said Cooper.

    Through Wal-Mart’s philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation funds through the College Success Awards Program a generous $4.2 million in grant that is administered by the Institute for Higher Education.


    The institutions selected were; Bennett College for Women (NC), California State University-Fresno, Clafin University (SC), Florida International University, La Guardia Community College (NY), Mount St. Mary’s College (CA), Navajo Technical College (NM), Norfolk State University (VA), Northwest Indian College (WA), Salish Kootenai College (MT), Spelman College (GA), Tennessee State University, University of the District of Columbia, University of the Incarnate Word.

    For more information about the program contact Student Support Services, www.colostate-pueblo.edu/sss/