NJ–U.S. Sen. Cory Booker today met with students and faculty of Union County College and Kean University to discuss the importance of the USDOE’s Title V grant and its planned impact on this region of New Jersey at the Partnership for Success in STEM Education event in Kean’s STEM Building. Union County College, a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), received a 5-year, $3.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), and selected Kean University as its 4-year college partner.
“The funding will be used to develop a multifaceted program focusing on increasing the success rates of Hispanic college students in the STEM -- science, technology and mathematics – disciplines,” said Dr. Margaret McMenamin, President of Union County College. “Union selected Kean University as its 4-year college partner to implement this program based on the two institutions’ dynamic ability to serve this unique population through this grant and other initiatives.”
“Our greatest national asset is the intellectual genius of our young people,” said Sen. Booker, whose recent policy initiatives include the introduction of the Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act of 2014. “We should be supporting them in their pursuit of higher education, not making it more difficult. I will do all I can to through the support of federal funding to make sure that those students who want to pursue a degree in science, technology and mathematics have the financial support to do so.”
To address the grant’s objective to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the retention, graduation and transfer rates of Hispanic and low-income students, Kean and Union will create a joint-admissions agreement which will develop a pathway for eligible HSI students from earning an associate’s degree at Union to earning a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline at Kean.
“With Kean University’s selection as one of the top 5 most diverse colleges in the country, and Union County College’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution, Kean and Union are natural partners for this Title V grant,” said Dr. Dawood Farahi, Kean University President. “Both colleges have a long history of serving our region’s diverse student population and providing our students with access and opportunity.”
The partnership will further enhance the longstanding relationship between Kean University and Union County College, enhanced by the schools’ close proximity and shared pride for the diversity of their student populations.
“Another one of the more innovative features of the Title V project is a ‘Possibility Zone’ which will provide students with faculty mentors for STEM research activities,” said Dr. Susan Polirstok, Dean of Kean’s College of Education. “The project also focuses on improving the way faculty teaches STEM disciplines.”
Dr. McMenamin added that the program is in line with federal educational priorities: “President Obama is calling for a diverse 21st-century, STEM-trained workforce. To that end, our partnership with Kean will develop a strong model of transfer and articulation to promote the success of Hispanic and low-income students pursuing STEM education. These students will earn an associate’s degree at Union and a bachelor’s degree at Kean, further opening doors into a STEM-related workforce or into a career as a teacher of STEM disciplines.”
Title V grant funding will continue through 2019.
IMAGE- Dr. McMenamin and U.S. Senator Booker, engage students.