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Research will look at factors in a successful minority college

A UW-Madison researcher is using $1.5 million dollars to learn what makes for a successful minority or tribal college. Clifton Conrad wants to know just what makes a minority college successful, in terms of student retention and graduation. To th...

A UW-Madison researcher is using $1.5 million dollars to learn what makes for a successful minority or tribal college.

Clifton Conrad wants to know just what makes a minority college successful, in terms of student retention and graduation. To that end, the education professor and a colleague at the University of Pennsylvania are holding a competitive application process for minority-serving institutions, or MSIs. They'll pick nine applicants for their study, which will hopefully reveal effective strategies for keeping minorities in college and helping them earn degrees. Conrad says "these programs and practices have remained largely invisible within larger higher education. We proposed that it was important to identify and elevate these exemplars of student success in ways that will enhance other MSIs, as well as predominately white institutions such as University of Wisconsin Madison.

In addition, the nine MSIs will receive $50,000 to further improve their programs. One person considering the opportunity is Diana Morris. She's Dean of Letters and Sciences at the College of Menominee Nation. She says for several years now, her college has conducted what's called STEM Scholars, an intensive but supportive program for students needing extra help in science and math. Morris says "we have a 97-percent completion rate in that program, and we have about 80-percent to 85-percent graduation rate."

Morris says the program emphasizes problem solving and peer-support, and even provides a stipend. An even more advanced program - called STEM Leaders - helps cover tuition and emphasizes internships for its participants, who are high achievers.

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