The University Record, November 8, 1999

OAMI receives 4-S grant to pilot POSSE program

From the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives

The University Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI) has received a grant from the Michigan Department of Education’s Select Student Support Services (4-S) to initiate the Pathways to Student Success and Excellence (POSSE) Program for the 1999–2000 academic year. With the institutional match, funding for the POSSE Program totals $202,857.

The competitive grant program provides seed money to support the initiation of pilot efforts that aim to increase the retention and graduation rates of academically and economically disadvantaged undergraduate students.

“While the University of Michigan’s graduation rate is one of the highest among the nation’s public institutions, we all know that disparities continue to persist between graduation and retention rates of our underrepresented minority students and the general student body,” said John Matlock, assistant provost and OAMI director. “The POSSE Program is designed to be an institutional approach that is multifaceted and places a strong emphasis on collaboration and communication between existing academic support programs and services.”

“We are very pleased to have the Michigan Department of Education support the institution as we continue to address issues of retention and academic success,” said Lester Monts, associate provost for academic affairs. “Although we have many successful programs and resources at the University of Michigan, the challenge that we now face is to better collaborate and coordinate our efforts so that important retention issues are addressed.”

Denise O’Neil Green, one of the primary authors of the proposal, will coordinate the POSSE Program. “Three major aims of the program are to facilitate communication and collaboration with longstanding programs, to infuse new programming that meets the differential needs of students, and to emphasize ways that students can strive to be academically successful,” Green said. “The major emphasis for the first year will be on ways that programs and units can work together through the POSSE Program to address the differential needs of students and to put those programs in place this year.”

Review criteria included potential of the program to create institutional change to ensure an enduring increase in retention of the target group, strength of the institution’s commitment to the program and to continuation of the program once grant funding has ended, and strength of the evaluation plan.