News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 30, 2013

The Woods awarded nearly $2 million

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has received a grant for nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program.

“We are honored to be a recipient of this award,” said Dottie King, Ph.D., president of SMWC, in a news release issued by the college. “Our submission was a direct response to our rigorous program analysis and strategic planning process. This funding will stimulate the campus in various ways and the most important is student success.”

The grant funds support a range of projects to increase student success, academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability. This five-year, $1,999,660 grant will fund 100 percent of the project at SMWC.

Specifically, the award will be used to increase enrollment and retention and advance institutional efficiency and capacity for data-driven management.

Enrollment and retention initiatives:

• Improved student academic support services of particular importance to low income students and first generation students,

• Renovated instructional facilities and improved technology in support of in-demand degree programs, and

• Support for a revised general studies program that encourages transfer enrollment, dual majors and minors, and on-time degree completion, while strengthening and integrating a commitment to core values and mission.

Institutional efficiency and data-driven management initiatives:     

• Implementation of a unified student information system across institutional management operations, and

• The addition of an institutional researcher, creating data-driven management to best utilize resources.

Strengthening Institutions Program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. This initiative helps post-secondary schools expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability of eligible institutions and build a framework to help students complete college.

The college will enhance Indiana’s profile as a place where first-rate educational opportunities exist through student engagement and hands-on experiences, the news release stated. The funding will extend SMWC’s operations by enabling it to make specific campus improvements and expand opportunities.

Campus upgrades/opportunities:

• Seven new smart classrooms;

• Expansion of the Learning Resource Center, including additional staff to support Writing and Math Centers;

• Technology-enhanced renovation of the general chemistry laboratory and Hayes Auditorium;

• New student information system;

• Faculty professional development especially to support the new Woods Core general studies curriculum and continued excellence in teaching and scholarship; and

• Addition of an institutional researcher.

More details on the award and additional comments are expected to be given at a morning news conference today at The Woods.

To learn more about Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, visit

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