Monday, May 09, 2011
CNM To Develop One-Stop Aid Shop
By James Monteleone
Journal Staff Writer
Central New Mexico Community College has received a $1.3 million foundation grant — its largest ever — to develop a program merging student services and academic coaching to improve student success.
The grant came from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand a pilot program called CNM Connect, which creates a one-stop hub at each of the CNM campuses where students can find all the help they need from a single office. Aid ranges from academic coaching to navigating financial aid, or even social services like finding child care and keeping a budget.
The Kellogg money is in addition to a $900,000 grant to the CNM Connect program from the Kresge Foundation donated earlier this year to total about $2.2 million in private funds that will expand the student services program beyond CNM's main campus.
With the money, CNM is hiring new student coaches, retraining staff so they can give students help with all aspects of the college and building new offices on each campus to make the bundled services readily available.
"Our students will know that CNM Connect is their resource for learning about and accessing all of the tremendous support services we offer at CNM, as well as the support systems that are available to them in the community," President Katharine Winograd said in a statement. "... We have great faith that CNM Connect is going to help more students persevere, thrive and reach their educational goals."
The intent of the program is to stop asking a struggling student to travel between CNM campuses to seek out the help they need, said Ann Lyn Hall, a leader of the program. Some students choose to drop out instead of navigating such institutional hurdles, she said.
"What a coaching model means is we want the students to identify what their goal is, and then with help from their coach, to identify how they're going to meet that goal," Hall said.
The program's success will be measured on whether CNM Connect can draw more of its 30,000 students to seek assistance. Evaluators will look at student retention rates and total degree completion to see if the extra help is keeping at-risk students in school.
The CNM Connect program stands out because it goes beyond academic counseling to help at-risk student address some of the concerns that may otherwise lead them to drop out, said Kellogg spokeswoman Rebecca Noricks.
"This bundled service model and this hub in community colleges really offers the opportunity to support students in all areas of their life, so a student doesn't have to choose between their education and some of the life challenges they may face," she said.