The Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) says that one of five Texans completes a college credential within six years of graduating from high school.
In an effort to find out why, the GTF has awarded Texas State Assistant Professor Edna Alfaro of the Graduate College a three-year grant for $90,000 to research the problem. The grant is one of four given out to support tenure-track faculty at Texas higher education institutions. Texas State received two such grants for 2013, with Melissa Martinez receiving the other.
“My interest in student outcomes stems from personal observations I made while transitioning through high school and college,” Alfaro said. “At the time, I was surrounded by family and friends making similar transitions; however, I noticed that there seemed to be almost as many paths through these transitions as there were people. These paths led to early, on-time, or delayed graduation or leaving school all together. These observations quickly turned to a genuine interest in gaining a better understanding for the factors that foster academic success.”
In particular, Alfaro said she hopes “to contribute to our understanding of Latina/o students’ academic success and retention by focusing on cultural, familial and individual assets that enable students to overcome academic barriers.”
After being nominated through a by-invitation-only nomination process, the selected fellows were invited to participate in a competitive proposal process in which they were required to demonstrate significant potential in and commitment to a career in research and teaching at the postsecondary level. In addition, applicants were required to identify a mentor to assist them throughout the three-year fellowship. Each of the selected fellows’ home institutions committed to a partial match for the program.
Said Wynn Rosser, GTF president and CEO. “With the addition of a new cohort each year, over time, GTF Fellows will create a broad and deep network of highly talented and committed Texas researchers working to understand barriers for students and identify research-based solutions to help more Texas students access and succeed at the postsecondary level.”
The selection process for the second cohort of fellows will begin fall 2013.
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