Today@Sam Article

$2.2 Million Grant Supports Student Academic Success

Oct. 20, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

academicsuccesscenterBy Becca Broaddus

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) and its Academic Success Center (ASC) received a $2.2 million Strengthening Institutional Programs Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to further support student academic success.

“The mission of the ASC is to meet students where they are in the learning process and empower them to achieve academic success,” said Mary Catherine Breen, Academic Success Center executive director. “This grant will help us meet students where they are with embedded tutors in the classroom, peer mentoring, first-year experience courses, transitions courses, and academic recovery programs.”

The grant will be used at SHSU over a five-year period to accomplish four goals: increase academic support systems for students through tutoring, mentoring and other resources; provide opportunities for internships and increase student readiness to enter the workforce; prepare and provide the skills needed for incoming students to be ready for college courses; and aid students who may be struggling in classes through academic recovery courses, so they stay on track to graduate.

Many of these goals will be accomplished by the ASC, a premiere student support center with the goal of providing success resources for every SHSU student. Located in the newly renovated Newton Gresham Library, the services provided by the ASC include tutoring, peer mentoring, academic coaching, access to online and campus resources, and first-year experience courses and outreach efforts.


Academic recovery courses are one of the most recent additions to ASC. Originally piloted with two of the SHSU colleges for students on suspension in spring 2021, the course-based program was extended to include all colleges, as well as students on academic probation this semester. Starting in the spring of 2022, students on suspended or on academic probation will register for the newly approved, zero credit hour course—providing more structure to the program.

ASC1“We’ve learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t work, and how we can continue to engage students and make it more meaningful for them,” Academic Recovery Coordinator Austin Dixon said. “It’s encouraging to see that it’s helpful for many students.”

According to Dixon, this grant will help build the academic recovery team, so the mentors, coaches, and instructors can serve students more intentionally with individualized support. In addition, he hopes to help create a community among the students who are in this situation, so they can feel they are not alone and more supported through the academic recovery process.

ASC works to support student academic success “from admission to graduation,” Breen said.

“It is a transition from high school to college and then from college to their career, so we help with academics as well as the development of career skills,” said Ted Stuberfield, director of the Academic Success Center. “This grant will help students develop skills to become lifelong learners and apply the skills they learn here to the workplace. We’re here to provide a blanket of support from their first year in college to their career.”

The USDOE Strengthening Institutional Programs grant helps universities and colleges expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of institutions.

The ASC and its staff are dedicated to the continued and expanded academic support of students. For more information about the center, visit

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