Department of Education Title V HSI Award Will Be Given Over Five Years
St. Mary’s University last week was awarded more than $2.6 million to further the growth of its School of Science, Engineering and Technology.

The University received a Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education though the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program. St. Mary’s is one of three institutions in San Antonio and nine in Texas to receive funding. The University will use the funding for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education development.

“We are grateful for this grant as we continue to respond to the growing demand for STEM education,” said University President Thomas Mengler. “It will help with necessary equipment and renovations, while also enhancing our Catholic liberal arts emphasis of educating the whole person. We are excited about the possibilities.”

The University will receive $2,624,952 over five years – $524,993 in year one. The grant will assist in funding:

  • Faculty and staff, including a Mechanical Engineering professor, an Academic Coordinator, tutors and peer mentors
  • Equipment for the Materials & Testing and Thermo-fluids laboratories
  • Equipment for Physics laboratories
  • Equipment for Chemistry laboratories
  • Renovation of the Biology, Physiology and Microbiology laboratories
  • Renovation of the Learning Assistance Center to support STEM Retention
  • A STEM Summer Bridge Program

Mark Roltsch, Ph.D., Executive Director of Academic Research and Sponsored Projects; Rosalind Alderman, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Retention Management; and SET Dean Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., led the task force that developed the grant proposal.

“This grant provides an enhanced learning environment for our students,” Erevelles said. “Over the next five years we will be developing new curricula, redesigning high-risk courses and implementing a strong advising program along with special programs to foster student success. The grant is especially significant because it advances our vision for a strong and vibrant STEM focus at the University.”

St. Mary’s has experienced significant enrollment gains in undergraduate STEM programs since 2010, especially among Hispanic students. Concurrently, San Antonio has embarked on a mission to develop industry in these fields. St. Mary’s is advancing its STEM pipeline in order to connect students with growing professional opportunities.

The University’s “Fostering Success in STEM Education” project has three initiatives already in progress:

  • Redesign high risk foundational and STEM gateway curricula and tutoring, renovating and adding updated instrumentation to core science labs
  • Develop a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program, with new industry-standard labs
  • Develop intrusive advising, academic skills workshops, and a summer bridge program for STEM students.

Last fall, St. Mary’s joined UTSA as the only institutions in San Antonio to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. This summer, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation awarded St. Mary’s a $200,000 grant to create the Garni Science Hall Mechanical Engineering Laboratories.

By the end of the project, St. Mary’s anticipates increasing the postsecondary success of its high-need students and improving the University’s productivity.

“There’s a strong sense of momentum about where the school is headed and the things we’re doing. I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Erevelles said.

The HSI Program improves Hispanic students’ opportunities for academic excellence and enhances the institutions that best serve them. To be eligible, applicants must be colleges or universities that qualify as eligible Hispanic-serving institutions under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

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