Sandy McMakin, dean of student success, and Armando Saliba, grant writer for foundation, corporate and government relations.

On Sept. 19, the University of the Incarnate Word was notified by the Office of Congressman Charlie Gonzales that UIW received a pair of five-year grants awards from the Department of Education’s Title V Office.

Grant one, in the amount of $3,063,223 over five years, is for the Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Program. This program assists HSIs to expand education opportunities for, and to improve the attainment of, Hispanic students. At UIW, the focus of the grant is to increase undergraduate student retention, particularly from the first to second year, and persistence to graduation.

The grant will assist in establishing a permanent Directions and Connections Center at UIW, a center dedicated to providing development to faculty and students to improve the quality of academic advising services. Grant funds will also create a University Writing Center to serve as a resource to faculty and students to improve undergraduate academic writing across the curriculum.

The second grant, in the amount of $5,930,474 over five years, is for the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Articulation Programs. This is a cooperative project with St. Phillip’s College, who will receive $1 million from these funds. The purpose of the HSI-STEM and Articulation Programs is to expand and enhance educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of, Hispanic students in the STEM fields as well as increase the transfer of students from community college to the four-year university in STEM.

The focus of the grant is to increase undergraduate student retention and persistence to graduation in STEM. This is UIW’s largest competitively awarded government grant and will aid in joint development for UIW and St. Philip’s faculty, led by experts, to improve innovative teaching in STEM, increase student engagement and research skills through the purchase of advanced scientific instruments and improving library resources in the sciences, carry out the Aspiring Scientists Research Program for UIW and St. Philip’s students, and much more.