Academics: Student Success Program

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First in the World Grant

Spelman College was one of 17 U.S. colleges and universities nationally to receive a First in the World (FITW) Grant in 2015. This U.S. Department of Education grant is designed to promote innovation in post-secondary education with an emphasis on examining student learning strategies that are both high-impact and cost-effective.     

This project is an outgrowth of the College’s tradition of providing a quality liberal arts education and its strategic goal of achieving a 100 percent retention rate. As Spelman has traditionally used innovative instructional strategies, this project expands that tradition by examining innovative strategies that may positively impact student learning. Project planners will analyze the effectiveness of specific instructional strategies to be implemented in Spelman’s signature course, African Diaspora and the World (ADW). The course, required of all first-year students, offers several advantages for this program:  

  • It is a year-long (two-semester) course
  • It requires complex reading materials and detailed writing assignments
  • It requires that students think critically
  • Faculty use a common syllabus
The project will be conducted in two phases. The first phase focuses on integrating specific strategies in the African Diaspora and the World curriculum. The second phase focuses on peer tutors’ use of strategies in an ADW tutoring session. It is expected that the project will impact over 2,200 students during the four years of implementation. 

The First in the World Grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) http://fipsedatabase.ed.gov