DSCC Awarded $200,000 TN Promise Forward Grant

Funds will assist DSCC in increasing student success and retention.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has awarded nearly $200,000 in Tennessee Promise Forward grants to Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC) to develop and expand innovative student success and retention programs. Through the grants, DSCC will work to enable more Tennessee Promise students to earn a post-secondary credential.

Across our state’s community colleges, great work is being done to ensure that the students who begin college with the Tennessee Promise go on to earn a credential," said Mike Krause, Executive Director of THEC. “Tennessee Promise Forward grants provide community colleges with the opportunity to expand successful programs and develop innovative student supports. From parent engagement pilots to service learning, THEC is excited to see the impact that this year’s Tennessee Promise Forward grants have on student success."

DSCC’s proposal included the implementation of four interrelated initiatives designed to improve student success and retention among Tennessee Promise students. First, the College will implement a student life cycle software platform known as Navigate by Education Advisory Board (EAB). EAB currently has more than 75 community college partners in 21 states, and those institutions have experienced improved retention, student communications, advising services, student onboarding experiences and completion rates. Second, the College will use success coaches to facilitate the best practice of establishing a clear pathway to degree completion. These coaches will work with each student to complete a unique academic map based on the student’s program choice and will work with EAB to facilitate student retention. Third, the College will strategically build learning communities into the first year experience for Tennessee Promise students. Participation in learning communities is a high-impact practice that has been shown to improve both student learning and retention by helping students build connections between the material from different classes and by helping students build relationships with classmates and instructors. Finally, a peer-mentoring program will be implemented to help Tennessee Promise students make connections with other students and develop a sense of belonging at the Institution.

“This grant will enable DSCC to acquire critical resources to help ensure the success of the Tennessee Promise students,” stated Dr. Karen Bowyer, president of DSCC.

The Tennessee Promise Forward grant program began in 2015 with the goal of retaining Tennessee Promise students at community colleges. The program was initially funded through a College Access Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and received a non-recurring allocation in the 2017-18 State budget due to positive results in years one and two. The institutions were chosen through a competitive application process and the Tennessee Promise Forward grants are administered by THEC.