New Mexico State University has received two grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that will help improve educational outcomes for children in New Mexico.
NMSU’s College of Education will receive a $252,000 planning grant to begin the process of transforming the college. Currently, the college consists of five academic departments. The funds will be used, in part, to gather experts from around the region and the country to make recommendations.
College of Education Dean Don Pope-Davis is exploring the possibility of transforming the college into three schools, including a school focused on science, technology, engineering and math education. The Kellogg Foundation grant will fund a detailed and comprehensive study of the College of Education to determine how it needs to change and restructure in order to become a 21st century organization, re-conceive how teachers are trained, and improve educational outcomes for school children, especially in southern New Mexico. Both internal and external evaluation panels or committees will also look at the college, and all of this will culminate in a summit.
“This is an important decision for us and a historical moment in the life of our college,” Pope-Davis said. “We are going forward with the mindset of, ‘How can we become more distinctive in what we do?’”
Pope-Davis said he and others on the transformation team plan to make the college’s restructuring a “transparent, collaborative process.”
The Kellogg Foundation has also committed another $302,000 over two years to create a Data Analysis Unit to provide data collection and analysis for improving educational outcomes in southern New Mexico. Initially, the Data Analysis Unit will focus on Doña Ana County and will work closely with Doña Ana County’s Success! Partnership, which includes NMSU’s College of Education and Ngage New Mexico. The unit will be housed in the Office of Institutional Analysis, under NMSU Assistant Vice President Judith Bosland, and will operate in conjunction with the Success! Partnership.
“The Kellogg investment in the Data Analysis Unit further strengthens the Success! Partnership and the ability for our community to have a greater impact on our children’s lives,” said Frank R. Lopez, executive director of Ngage New Mexico.
Lopez said Ngage New Mexico serves as a backbone organization for the Success! Partnership, with is a “prenatal to career” education initiative in Doña Ana County.
“The development of a Data Analysis Unit has the potential of enhancing NMSU’s research capacity and simultaneously provide excellent research for the community-based Success! Partnership,” Lopez said.
The Data Analysis Unit will engage in data collection and analysis, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Educational programs, public schools, the College of Education, other areas on campus and Doña Ana County will benefit.
“This is an exciting opportunity for NMSU’s evaluation and analysis professionals, in collaboration with the Success! Partnership, to provide data to guide the creation and improvement of educational programs throughout Doña Ana County,” Bosland said. “While the immediate goal is to improve the educational opportunities and achievement of children in southern New Mexico, this will ultimately ensure that more residents are college-ready upon high school graduation.”
The Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, the Kellogg Foundation works with communities to create better conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. The Kellogg Foundation priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.
For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU