August 17, 2008

Hilbert Awarded $2 Million Grant

By Jay Rey

Hilbert College has received its largest grant to date, a $2 million federal award to help its students succeed.

The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help to develop two new programs, officials at the Hamburg college said Thursday.

One will provide a two-week summer program to ease the transition from high school to college for incoming students not quite prepared for the rigors of higher education.

Hilbert also will develop a First Year Experience program for all freshmen, in hopes of boosting student retention and graduation rates. The program will include a core freshman seminar course taught by a professor who also will serve as academic adviser to smaller, customized freshman groups.

"This approach is designed to encourage a sense of community among students, allowing them to bond and feel more involved in their college experience," explained Janet Facklam, assistant professor of rehabilitation services and the grant's project director. It also opens the door for more student mentoring and tutoring.

The new programs will be a fundamental shift in the way Hilbert educates its students, said Christopher Holoman, the college's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

"Hilbert is building an environment of prevention and intervention to surround students with individualized services needed, that sends the message you can succeed in college," Hilbert President Cynthia A. Zane said in a statement.

"We're making a commitment in our students with the goal they will make the commitment to staying in college and finishing their education," she said.

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Originally published by NEWS STAFF REPORTER.

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