ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (December 11, 2020) — 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. The first cohort will include 140 Augustana students.

The goal of SSS 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 President of the College 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.

Augustana looks to focus on a students’ strengths

“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 utilize accompanying strengths-based leadership training, positive psychology, and strengths-based advising and coaching related to curricular, co-curricular, and career planning.

The 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 Dr Douglas.

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

With steeper barriers will come more support

“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 Dr 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,” Dr Douglas continued.

TRIO Scholars will gain valuable skills not only for their academic success, but also for their future as informed, thoughtful, and productive citizens of the world.

Students must apply to be among the first TRIO Scholars at Augustana

The first group of TRIO Scholars will be selected beginning in January of 2021, and the college has a goal of enrolling 140 students in the program by the beginning of spring semester (February, 10, 2021). Programming will begin at that time.

“At Augie, we place success for all students at the heart of everything we do,” said President 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.”

Known for sparking passionate curiosity, Augustana College is an empowering home to explore over 90 areas of study. Augustana’s innovative program, Augie Choice, transforms students into global citizens, thinkers, and doers with a $2,000 grant to explore the world, complete an internship, or conduct research with a professor. Augustana students achieve a balance inside and outside of the classroom, ranking top ten in all divisions for Academic All Americans. Transformed to be different, current students and alumni include health-care heroes, Nobel Prize winners, CEOs, college presidents, and leaders across all continents. The college enrolls 2,500 curious changemakers who get energized by four years as part of a community that reflects the diversity of the United States.

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