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Morris Foundation provides $1 million over four years to help improve retention

01.24.2023 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
Student affairs staff member talks with student

Texas Wesleyan University is pleased to announce a gift of $1 million from the Morris Foundation in support of student retention efforts as part of Engage. Inspire. Invest. A Comprehensive Campaign.

The gift will provide three additional staff positions to help more strategically engage students at risk of failing or dropping out and will also provide funds to train all university faculty members in effective and equity-promoting teaching practices.

“It is incredible to have a philanthropic partner like the Morris Foundation so focused on educational success,” said President Frederick G. Slabach. “These resources, coming on the heels of the pandemic, will help us bring our students back to where they belong on their educational journeys.”

Staff positions include an additional academic advisor, an academic success coordinator and an assistant athletic director for retention and academic success. Texas Wesleyan has seen expanded enrollment of first-year students over the past two years, including the largest class in more than 50 years in fall 2022. More than one-third of these students are student-athletes.

“The faculty training component will be a game-changer,” said Hector Quintanilla, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “This investment in our faculty – all of our faculty over a four-year period – will have an exponential impact on retention at the classroom level.”

The faculty training will be provided by ACUE (Association of College and University Educators), a curricula and professional teaching organization founded by faculty members. ACUE focuses on student success and equity through quality instruction. Participating faculty members will progress through a 25-week program gaining credentials in designing effective courses, establishing effective learning environments, using active learning strategies, promoting higher order thinking and assessing to inform instruction and promote learning.

The Morris Foundation has provided crucial support to Texas Wesleyan over the past few years, including a $55,000 gift in 2016 to support a partnership with Teach for America and a $1 million gift in 2017 supporting construction of the Nick and Lou Martin University Center.

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At Texas Wesleyan, we have a rich history and a Texas-sized reputation. As stewards of the University, it is our responsibility to build a future as bright as our past.