Research Program Spotlight

Each semester, The Grants Office wishes to highlight one grant sponsored activity on campus that is making a difference.  In this way we hope to share some of the interesting work being done by our faculty in areas of research, curriculum development, teaching, learning and scholarship.  All these projects are externally funded and support the mission of the college. 

Our first spotlight features the Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant: Adelante housed in the Office of Academic Affairs.


Hostos Community College ADELANTE:
Reinvigorating, Enhacing and Accelerating Developmental Education,
Enhacing College Credit Courses and Expanding Faculty
Development and Research Immersion

In October 2014, Hostos Community College received a five-year Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Program, totaling $2.5 million to increase student opportunities for success and to expand professional development opportunities for faculty through curriculum development and research.
The grant supports our strategic plan goals, focusing on remedial and developmental student needs, first year student success, teaching and learning supports and leadership development for students and faculty as well as an increase in student performance, retention and completion rates.
Under the leadership of Interim Provost Christine Mangino and Project Director Silvia Reyes, the Title V Implementation Team has been working closely with faculty and staff and increasing student opportunities for success in developmental education, while developing new and effective strategies that integrate new initiatives in classroom instruction to connect students with programs and support services early in their careers.  Title V also is engaging faculty through expanded professional development activities that include curriculum development, faculty research and conference grants. 

 Student Achievement for Developmental Education and First Year Students
To bolster learning, increase retention and improve performance and completion rates of students enrolled in developmental and gateway courses, coordinated, effective and targeted structures have been put in place.  These structures offer numerous options to accelerate developmental students learning and provide first year students opportunities to strengthen their classroom-based college level readiness.

Enhanced Developmental Skills Workshops and Professional Development
With the support of Title V and in collaboration with the academic departments, developmental skills workshops offered during the Winter/Summer immersion program have been enhanced to offer targeted instruction intended to meet the unique and specific learning needs of the different Hostos student populations that include incoming freshmen, continuing students, transfer and multiple repeaters.
During the 2014-2015 academic year, eight faculty members from the English, Language and Cognition and Math departments were involved in revising existing courses and developing new curriculum for the different developmental skills workshop models. The enhanced workshops align curriculum, instruction, professional development and assessment to support student success.   The enriched curriculum utilizes different instructional styles and encourages the employment of new techniques to evaluate student learning to produce positive results and show increased persistence and retention. 

Supplemental Instruction to Expand for First Year Students in Gateway Courses
The Math Department has been offering Supplemental Instruction (SI) since 2012. To expand on and to build upon the success of the Math Department, with the support of Title V, SI in gateway courses will be implemented beginning fall 2015.
Supplemental Instruction, an academic support model that uses peer-assisted study sessions to improve student success, will offer students enrolled in gateway courses access to academic supports that will help them remain in school and graduate.  Through weekly peer-led supplemental instruction sessions, students will discover a variety of learning techniques to become active learners and study skills to help them succeed in their courses. SI sessions will also provide an environment for students to ask specific questions, discuss topics related to the course and engage in problem solving activities.

Small Group Tutorial Intervention
The collaboration between Title V and the Writing Center is designed to assist students who continuously persist yet fail to pass the reading and/or writing exams.  The aim is to prepare students to pass their developmental skills exams by increasing access to three-hour weekly tutorials where students work together in small groups, and providing access to an online self-guided writing/reading tutorials. This intervention also integrates academic and social support strategies to help students build new skills and meet academic standards to increase higher pass rates and academic success.

Faculty Research and Professional Development
Student Research With Faculty
Thirty students and ten faculty members will engage in research projects every year for the next five years.  The goal of this initiative is for faculty to involve students in research projects as collaborators so that students gain valuable research skills while faculty are able to pursue their own independent research. Students are expected to meet with their faculty mentor on a weekly basis and participate in leadership development sessions on a monthly basis.  Faculty receive three credit hours of release time and students are paid a stipend for their work.

During the spring 2015 semester (10) faculty from five (5) disciplines and thirty (30) students participated in Student Research Collaborations.  Dr. Tia McNair, Senior Director for Student Success at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&) generously committed her expertise to the success of Hostos faculty and students.  She met with faculty research leaders in a half-day workshop during the January 2015 intersession and met with students in February.  The workshops covered a range of topics including key elements of designing a quality research project, defining learning outcomes and project goals, reviewing and discussing examples of student-faculty collaborative research projects, using rubrics to assess learning outcomes and making projects relevant to students. 

Capstone Assignment Task Force
The Title V Capstone Assignment Task Force began the process of transforming 200-level courses by infusing them with capstone projects/assignments. Capstone assignments are transformative, comprehensive learning experiences designed to strengthen student academic performance.

Through these projects/assignments students integrate and apply knowledge gained in their majors, enhance written and oral communication skills and develop critical and analytical thinking skills. Capstone assignments include activities related to experiential learning, research, presentations, collaboration, or any combination thereof.

Twenty-eight (28) courses over the next five-years will include newly created or refined capstone assignments. During the spring and summer 2015, seven faculty members participated in bi-weekly seminars that served to assist them with the enhancement of existing assignments or creating new assignments.

Faculty Conference Grants
To foster professional growth in teaching and learning, Title V provides up to ten faculty with $1,000 per academic year to cover the cost of traveling to conferences, presentations, professional meetings and seminars. Ten faculty members were funded during the spring 2015 semester to attend conferences in Canada, and Boston.  Six of them presented at the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP) conference in March 2015.  Four attended the Binghamton University, Institute on Experiential Teaching, Learning and Scholarship. All faculty who participate in this activity will share their experiences with the college community.