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JCSU Looks Back and Moves Forward with Title III Presentations

Charlotte, N.C. / Aug. 9 – Johnson C. Smith University faculty and staff gathered at the Hilton – University Place to discuss the successes of various University projects funded by U.S. Department of Education Title III Program. 

Title III funds are overseen by JCSU’s Division of Government Sponsored Programs and Research (GSPAR), headed by Dr. Diane Bowles, who serves as vice president of GSPAR and executive director of the Title III Program. Title III is comprised of funding from the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs, Part B) grant award and the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE, Part F) Act grant award. 

President Clarence D. Armbrister opened the conference with words of thanks. 

“This was an important year, and I’m really excited to look back and see what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “Thank you to Dr. Bowles and GSPAR. We couldn’t do what we do at JCSU without Title III funds. The activities you all have overseen are really important to the success of JCSU, particularly as we continue to push the Gold(en) Blueprint, our five-year strategic plan.” 

Armbrister said it is projected that a House of Representatives bill would increase Title III funding by nearly $40 million, which could add a considerable amount of funding to JCSU’s Title III funding, which sits around $3.5 million. 

“Title III funds support the mission and vision of the University,” said Bowles. “The funds have really augmented the University and supplemented the University’s operations. Today’s presentations prove we are using our Title III funds wisely.” 

Presentations were given by activity directors – faculty or staff who have taken the lead on implementing strategies to accomplish objectives aimed at improving the University in four focus areas: institutional management, fiscal stability, academic quality and student services and outcomes. 

Here is a summary of the accomplishments of each activity: 

  • Coordination and Administration – Continued to keep the University compliant with federal reporting and regulations by guiding all activity leaders. 
  • Improving Academic Facilities: Renovations, Repairs and Maintenance – Title III funds were used to replace roofing on Perry and Carnegie halls. Additional money was used to incorporate new brand elements into building projects. 
  • Optimizing the University’s Technological Infrastructure for Administrative Management, Teaching and Learning – Funds from Title III aided in upgrading the wireless network on campus, creating a password portal, developing a self-service campus ID portal and implementing CrowdStrike, a computer safety program that limits network liabilities. The technology team has also adopted the use of Apps Anywhere, which puts any applications faculty, staff or students may need for teaching or learning in one, convenient location. 
  • Strengthen and Enhance Use of Emerging Digital and Networking Technologies – Title III funds were used to prepare for emerging digital and networking technologies designed to impact academic outcomes. 
  • Creating Necessary Enhancements Across Unified Sectors (NExUS) Initiative – This team used Title III funding to digitize catalogs and manuals used by faculty, staff and students. In the near future, it will also implement the use of CLSS for course scheduling and CIM for curriculum updates. 
  • Establish a Data Warehouse to Strengthen Institutional Effectiveness – In order to put student and University information in one place, this activity aims to compile various databases used around campus into one data warehouse that can be cross-accessed by varying campus departments. 
  • Building Research, Innovation, Collaboration and Knowledge (BRICK) Through Sponsored Programs – This activity manages extramural funds that advance research development and grow student retention. Most funding in this last cycle went to Institutional Support. 
  • Integrating Metacognitive Variables to Increase Student Retention and Persistence – This activity was the creation point for Biddle Institute, which was established to assist students who did not meet the traditional requirements for entry into JCSU academic programs. Several successful graduates have come from the program, which will now be offered campuswide. 
  • Re-envisioning and Expanding Online Degree Programs for Adult Learners – With the help of Title III funding, the online degree programs have continued to grow, and officially surpassed its goal of 70 percent overall retention with an 83 percent retention rate. The activity lead also reported that students and faculty were satisfied with the ease of use of Canvas, the online learning platform used at JCSU. 
  • JCSU HealthPlex: Increasing Physical Activity to Improve Mental and Physical Health – Title III funds were used to supplement virtual workouts and a variety of seminars covering topics such as STDs and HIV and nutritional cooking demonstrations. 
  • Expanding Student Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) –This activity was able to fund 20 classroom experiences with Couse-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE). 
  • Augmenting Student Capability for Technical Creativity and Career Readiness – Title III funding helped improve communication arts courses, and helped to establish JCSUTalks, a podcast channel that will be live in the near future. 
  • Creating the Career Pathways Academy: Leading from Within – This activity team hosted several workshops, such as Wack or Worthy at Work, work-life balance discussions and local collaborations to foster internship and career opportunities. 
  • Smith Institute for Applied Research: Enhancing and Expanding Research Opportunities – Funding helped to secure resource hubs, graduate school boot camp, workshops and competitions. 
  • Enhancing the Bachelor of Social Work Program at JCSU – Title III funds aided in the hiring of a new faculty member. Funding was also used to develop and offer a class about mental health in communities of color. This led to five new community partnership and resulted in two internship opportunities. The Social Work department will also be offering a minor in Fall 2022. 

Johnson C. Smith University’s Title III activities are all aimed at improving student outcomes and enhancing learning opportunities for faculty, staff and students. For more information on Title III at JCSU, contact the Title III office at 704.330.1493.

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