NMU Receives KCP Program Grant

Joseph Baynesan of the Michigan Department of LEO-WD (left) meets with NMU President Brock Tessman on campus.

Northern Michigan University has been awarded a competitive Student Select Support Services (4-S) grant, worth about $100,000 annually over a six-year cycle, as part of the state's larger King-Chavez-Parks initiative. The 4-S program is designed to develop retention programs to benefit academically- or economically-disadvantaged students enrolled at four-year public and independent educational institutions throughout the state.

It also serves as a catalyst for institutional change, stimulating more coordinated efforts within institutions, permanently ensuring measurable short- and long-term improvement in graduation rates of targeted students.

NMU has successfully obtained previous 4-S grants. To qualify for the funding, institutions are required to provide a 30% in-kind match.

“NMU has used the money to support tangible initiatives like the NMU Food Pantry and free printing for qualifying students,” said Jill Compton, internal auditor and interim supervisor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We have also worked to increase students' sense of belonging—one of President Tessman's administrative pillars—through efforts like the multicultural and lavender graduation ceremonies. We use the funding to support student labor to staff the Student Equity and Engagement Center (SEEC), and to pay for marketing co-curricular programming and support services directly to students.”

Compton said NMU has moved away from the concept of student mentors, which was featured in older grant proposals. Now it trains students to provide concierge-like support, steering their peers to the professionally staffed support programs.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity-Workforce Development's (LEO-WD) KCP Initiative provides oversight to the 4-S Program and technical assistance to the institutions. It also offers professional development events, an Equity Within the Classroom Conference, and grant monitoring services to university KCP program administrators to improve program outcomes.

“In my experience working over 20 years with disadvantaged Michigan students, I can't emphasize enough the benefits of collaboration among faculty, staff and administrators. I have seen the positive outcomes and the energy generated when the parties come together and show their commitments,” said Joseph Baynesan of the Michigan Department of LEO-WD. “I believe in the Michigan KCP initiatives because of the positive impacts it has been making in the lives of disadvantaged students. Many former KCP students are successfully employed in many parts of our state, including in our colleges and universities serving as teachers, faculty and administrators.”

Each university is required to come up with a nickname for its 4-S grant proposal to differentiate it from others. For this funding cycle, Northern selected “Lighthouse.” Its previous nickname was “Jumpstart.”

Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Around NMU, Strategic Plan