Dewey University is a private, nonprofit, Hispanic-Serving Institution located in Puerto Rico. The Carolina campus of Dewey University (DU-Carolina or DU-C) provides educational opportunities for students in the northeast region of Puerto Rico, primarily economically disadvantaged students. DU-Carolina’s student population is 100% Hispanic, the average age of 25, 88% work, and 83% have an income below $20,000. About 72% of DU-C students are enrolled in some evening and/or weekend courses, which reflects our high proportion of working adults, many of whom are blue-collar workers. The six municipalities surrounding our campus, which make up our service area, are economically distressed; the percentage of individuals living in poverty ranges from 29.8% to 46.3%. The median household income for residents in those cities ranges from $18,497 to $31,261 and the unemployment rate is nearly 10%, indicators of the economic hardships experienced by those residents.
DU-Carolina has been serving the higher education needs of Hispanics in northeast PR since 1996 and continues to grow as an undergraduate institution. We seek to expand access to new areas with strong potential for growth (e.g., health and business fields) to broaden and maximize opportunities for our students. We also strive to capitalize on labor market opportunities, such as the current and increasing demand for nurses, particularly professionals with bilingual (English/Spanish) skills. However, DU-C must overcome significant institutional challenges before it can provide more Hispanic students increased access to employment opportunities in high-demand professions. Our problems and weaknesses revolve around the following issues: significant gaps in academic programming, inadequate instructional facilities, and the absence of a systemized academic support structure.
In designing an appropriate and effective solution to institutional problems, DU-C researched similar programs at other institutions to identify innovative approaches from which our students can benefit. As a result of that research, DU-C intends to build on successful models to create up-to-date, relevant, and engaging programs of study as we:
- • Develop and equip a Simulation Lab, Biology Lab, Chemistry Lab, and Business Lab to engage our students in interactive learning, supported by 21st-century instructional tools;
- • Develop curricula for a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program and two new concentrations for the existing BBA degree program (Finance and Entrepreneurship);
- • Adapt select curricula for the three new bachelor’s degree programs for hybrid delivery;
- • Equip classrooms with instructional technology to support nursing and business students
- • Establish a structured academic support system, including creating a Tutoring Center, to foster success among our students.
DU-C requests a five-year budget of $2,624,733 for this Activity, the first Title V application ever undertaken by Dewey University-Carolina. This Title V application addresses the Absolute Priority (increase the number and proportion of high-need students who are academically prepared for, enroll in, or complete on time college, other post-secondary education, or other career and technical education). It also addresses Competitive Preference Priority 1 (tutoring, counseling, and student service programs designed to improve academic success) and Competitive Preference Priority 2 (development and implementation of high-quality online or hybrid credit-bearing and accessible learning opportunities).
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