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Texas Wesleyan receives $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education

10.19.2023 | By: University Advancement
A sidewalk leading to the front of the Oneal-Sells Administration Building on the campus of Texas Wesleyan Univerasity

Texas Wesleyan University is pleased to announce a five-year grant of $2,121,205 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program. 

The funded project, titled The Wesleyan Experience, is a comprehensive student-centered program designed to strengthen and improve Texas Wesleyan’s academic quality, institutional management and fiscal responsibility. This university-wide initiative will create a signature experience wedded to community enrichment and career readiness. Courses and activities will span all four years of the college experience.  

“We were able to write this grant in such a way that it mirrors our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP),” said Steven Daniell, associate provost of academic affairs and principal investigator of the Title III grant. “The four goals of the grant align perfectly with the four components of the QEP, which strive to connect students to campus, engage them in on- and off-campus activities, develop them as leaders, and help them gain access to employment of graduate school post-graduation.”

The four goals of The Wesleyan Experience are:

  1. Retain first-year students by providing proven retention programs for high-risk students while engaging them with campus and student life;
  2. Build leadership skills and engagement by embedding service learning into strategic General Education Curriculum (GEC) courses;
  3. Prepare students for career success through undergraduate research;
  4. Prepare students for career success through internships and experiential learning. 

“Having a Title III grant to reinforce and support our QEP and University's strategic plan is a well-timed blessing,” said Hector Quintanilla, Texas Wesleyan provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “This triple layering of strategy, curricular enhancement and funding should help us make a noticeable, positive difference in retention and graduation rates.”

The academic focus of The Wesleyan Experience in Years 3 and 4 is strategically aligned to degrees that lend themselves well to research and internships and are also in areas where jobs are in demand: Biology/Chemistry; Computer Science/Computer Information Systems; Criminal Justice/Sociology; Political Science/History; Supply Chain/Business Analytics. 

“Texas Wesleyan has a deep commitment to student success through quality teaching,” said Alistair Maeer, associate professor of history and co-director of The Wesleyan Experience. “The curricular enhancements of campus and community engagement, undergraduate research, and a more strategic internship process shows a strong university-wide commitment to addressing the greatest student learning needs at the institution.”

The Wesleyan Experience is designed to help address three main challenges: Texas Wesleyan is located in an historically depressed neighborhood; the university enrolls high numbers of under-served students, particularly Pell-eligible students, first-generation students and underrepresented minorities; and since the pandemic more than half of incoming first-year students are not prepared for college-level work. 

“We are making a difference with the student population we serve,” said Texas Wesleyan President Emily Messer. “This Title III grant, along with previous strategic planning and fundraising for retention initiatives, will assist the university in transforming the lives of our students through the gift of higher education.”

Campus clock tower with red flowers
The success that Texas Wesleyan has experienced is possible thanks to the generous donations of alumni, parents, students, friends and businesses. Your donations help to not only grow our campus and allow us to stay up-to-date with technology, but give students a world of opportunities and remove financial barriers.