The grant, a Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant awarded by the United States Department of Education with an anticipated five-year total of $1,965,374, will provide 100 percent of the funding to expand access and success of students enrolled in online degree programs at Northeast. The Title III grant is a project that will run from October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2014, with an award of $399,995 for the first year of the project. Wayne Erickson, Northeast dean of continuing education and distance learning, will serve as project director for the grant award.
According to Erickson, the Title III grant will allow for the development of more online courses and degree programs and expand the design and delivery of distance learning courses and learning support services through faculty and staff development. It will also provide and increase access to online student support services at Northeast Community College.
“Because of the dramatic increase in interest in online instruction,” Erickson said, “it has been challenging to keep up with the demand. This award will go a long ways in helping us improve our online instruction and student services.”
He noted that during the 2004-2005 academic year, 1,763 students (duplicated headcount) were enrolled in 144 online class sections and earned 4,474 credit hours for that online instruction. During the 2008-2009 academic year, 2,658 students (duplicated headcount) were enrolled in 211 course sections and earned 7,081 credit hours for that instruction.
“With this generous Title III award,” Erickson said, “we will establish a college technology center to help faculty and staff integrate interactive digital audio, video, text, and image resources into online courses and services. This grant will also allow us to pilot emerging delivery technologies and formats at Northeast Community College.”
Erickson also said that this award will allow for expansion of online degree offerings at Northeast. This fall, Northeast will add online associate of arts degrees in accounting, behavioral science, business administration, criminal justice corrections or law enforcement, academic transfer, ag transfer, journalism, and social science to its online line-up.
With the Title III grant, online degrees in business-rural agribanking, business-banking and insurance, and business-marketing; general and medical administrative assistant, and elementary education are planned, Erickson said. Additionally, equipment will be bought to support the interactive learning environment and support services like academic advising, orientation, career planning, tutoring, writing support, expanded online library resources, and online bookstore services.
“I have said this many times and I re-iterate,” said Dr. Bill R. Path, president of Northeast Community College, “federal tax dollars do come back to our 20-county service area. This grant award, totaling nearly $2,000,000, will help us improve our online programming and student services for our constituents. We are very pleased that we were successful in receiving this highly-competitive federal award.”