The Office of Supportive Services at Michigan State University is the home of a federally funded TRIO Student Support Services program. Collaborative and innovative summer programs that began in 2013 have been well received at the national and international level.
The residential summer bridge program, entitled “Excel,” is an academically rigorous college transition experience for newly admitted TRIO students. Launching in summer 2014 with 25 students, this seven-week program piloted an online math adaptive learning technology that complimented the daily math instruction that students received in-person from STEM graduate students who were also experienced teaching assistants. MSU’s Excel program was recently recognized as a successful pilot program by the Council for Opportunity in Education and invited to share strategies and results at its 33rd Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
The Freshman Math Initiative (FMI), a nine-week online hybrid summer program, is the result of long-term collaborative discussion between the Office of Supportive Services, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Department of Mathematics. The goal of the program is to address the achievement gap for students placing into developmental mathematics at the university. In the summer of 2013, 42 students completed the first program with an average increase on the math placement exam of two points. The program was successful in reducing the number of students enrolled in developmental math and also in increasing the number of students who successfully completed their first college math course. These benchmarks are indicators for persistence among TRIO students.
The experience and results of this team effort led the way for multiple milestones:
- A second FMI program in summer 2014.
- Presentation at the 14th International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations in Vienna, Austria entitled, “Using Summer Bridge Hybrid Programs to Improve Mathematics Placement Underrepresented Minority Students at Michigan State University.”
- The Diversity Collection journal article submission entitled, “Using Summer Bridge Hybrid Programs to Improve Mathematics Placement for First Generation, Low-Income, and Underrepresented Students at Michigan State University.”
- Institutionalization of the FMI, within the new “STEM Success” program was made possible by a $5 million dollar grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.