Accessing Innovative Measures for Higher Retention
The AIM (Accessing Innovative Measures) for Higher Retention grant is dedicated to improving OJC’s low retention rates which will lead to improved graduation and transfer rates, along with higher GPAs.
The grant award is funded by the Department of Education’s Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program (DHSI). Otero Junior College is designated a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2001, with over 38% of the College’s student population being of Hispanic descent.
In addition to addressing the readiness and success of Hispanic students, the grant’s focus will also address the needs of low income students. Determination of low-income is based on Pell Grant eligibility and other financial aid qualifications. Over 55% of OJC students are Pell Grant eligible, with 84% qualifying for some kind of financial aid assistance.
Four program focus areas include:
Building College Readiness through the development of expanded in-person and online orientation programs that help students, especially first-generation students, better understand the processes and expectations of becoming a successful college student. The orientation programs focus on helping families better understand how they can support their student.
Mentoring and Student Support programs pair students with faculty and staff who will serve as personal mentors to help acquaint students with the OJC culture, provide information on services, careers, and give general support to the student through their academic experience at OJC. The mentoring and support programs also include the development of peer mentoring programs, mentoring of new faculty and staff, as well as hiring a case manager who can work with students on issues beyond the expertise of those serving as mentors in the program.
Expanding the Student Experience provide students with additional opportunities to work with faculty to gain experience related to their studies outside the classroom. OJC faculty have the opportunity to develop research projects with students or to include service learning components into their coursework.
Professional Development is a major component of the grant. Professional development opportunities focus on culturally-responsive teaching.
This grant serves populations including Hispanic, first generation and low-income.