Augustana launches TRIO Scholars program for high-need students

Local News

Augustana College will launch the TRIO Scholars Program in early 2021 to bolster the academic, graduation and career success of students.

Supported by a $1.3 million TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) grant from the United States Department of Education, the five-year program will focus on providing services to low-income and/or first-generation students, as well as students with disabilities, a news release says. The first cohort will include 140 Augustana students.

The goal of the grants is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants.

“At Augustana, we see the TRIO program as another way we can help improve the upward mobility of students,” said college President Steven Bahls. “We are committed to helping all Augie students and providing pathways toward high-demand careers.”

Augustana will identify students with the greatest need and provide individualized academic support, guidance, mentoring and strengths-based leadership assessment and training.

“We have developed a signature approach designed to help Augustana students recognize and build on their own personal strengths, enabling them to hone and articulate their leadership skills and talents,” said Dr. Kristin Douglas, associate dean.

Augustana is building the new program on the cornerstones of Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment and will use accompanying strengths-based leadership training, positive psychology, and strengths-based advising and coaching related to curricular, co-curricular and career planning.

CliftonStrengths is an internationally recognized assessment tool used to help identify the areas where individuals have the greatest potential for building strength. It is used in many sectors, including in many businesses as well as higher education institutions.

“Too often young people are confronted with their weaknesses, yet research shows that successful people focus on their strengths and advancing their strengths, not their weaknesses,” said Douglas.

Along with a host of other support and learning, TRIO participants at Augustana will learn what they naturally do best, learn how to develop their greatest talents into strengths, and benefit from personalized results and reports.

“Augustana College has long provided transformative educational experiences. At the same time, we recognize the need to provide the proper support to those students who undeniably face steeper barriers to success,” said Douglas.

“The TRIO Scholars program adds a necessary focus on the success of our student body, expanding upon the services that already exist with even greater clarity and very significant investment in areas where more supports are needed,” Douglas continued.

The first group of TRIO Scholars will be selected beginning in January of 2021. The goal is to enroll 140 students in the program by the beginning of spring semester (February 2021). Programming will begin at that time.

“At Augie, we place success for all students at the heart of everything we do,” said Bahls. “We are so grateful for this critical funding, which will help us ensure those students who too often face barriers to and in higher education learn to recognize their strengths and prepare for success.”

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