New York Institute of Technology has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education Title III Strengthening Institutions Program award, a highly competitive grant to help eligible institutions expand their capacity to serve low-income students. Neary 500 minority-serving American institutions of higher education were eligible to apply for the 2023 program; New York Tech has received $2.25 million over five years. The award period began on October 1.
New York Tech’s effort to secure funding, an initiative led by Associate Provost Francesca Fiore, Ed.D., brings together many areas within Academic Affairs and across the university and is focused on increasing undergraduate student retention and improving graduation rates. The awarded funding will be used to:
- Adopt high-impact practices relating to student support and success.
- Strengthen New York Tech’s infrastructure relating to student support.
- Hire staff and student workers and invest in technology solutions.
This Title III project is based on input from faculty, students, staff, administrators, and alumni; recommendations from external consultants; and evidence-based research. Components are guided by the overarching themes of the university’s Strategic Action Plan—equity consciousness, operational efficiency and resource effectiveness, and digital transformation—to ensure alignment and cohesion across initiatives.
“This award demonstrates that New York Tech is being responsive to feedback from numerous stakeholders and that we are committed to continuous improvement by bringing together many initiatives we currently are pursuing in service to our students,” Fiore said.
According to Fiore, New York Tech was successful in its endeavor to secure a Strengthening Institutions Program award based on the university’s proposal of various interventions to further solidify strengths and improve weaknesses. Recognized institutional strengths in the award proposal include the university’s:
- Strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at the core of our ability to educate and support our diverse student body
- Career-oriented, professional education geared toward future work needs and facilitating student social mobility
- Widespread commitment to centering on the student experience, with ongoing student success initiatives focused on educational equity
The project has five components to achieve improvement in targeted areas, each of which responds to various consultant reports, climate studies, and institutional priorities and goals:
- Advising and other support: Expand the current hybrid advising model beyond first-year students to include sophomores; streamline handoff to faculty advisors for juniors and seniors; and engage in a process review to prepare for academic planning software and remove barriers to academic progression for students.
- Student support: Offer enhanced support through tailored mentorship, programming, faculty/staff training, and potential affinity group space, especially for First-Gen students and other specialized student populations.
- Faculty development: Support inclusive teaching and “mentoring mindset” development for faculty through communities of practice and provide support for adjuncts who largely teach general education courses.
- Career-focused curriculum: Scaffold credentials into academic programs to connect students to career goals and improve employability for students while in school; use data to drive employer engagement and address potential post-graduation earning disparities.
- Transfer and non-traditional students: Expand the university’s interdisciplinary studies program to pilot portfolio-based assessment targeting non-traditional students and expand and strengthen delivery of online/hybrid courses.
The overarching goals of the project are to increase the first-year, full-time retention rate by 4 percent and to increase the six-year graduation rate by 9 percent by the end of the five-year award period. “We care about the student experience at New York Tech, and this award reflects our widespread commitment to student success and enhanced outcomes,” Fiore concluded.