CPTC receives $2.2M grant to support student success

Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) has been awarded a $2.2 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The funds will be used over the next five years to bolster the college’s outcomes and assessment work and faculty support.

Specifically, the grant will enable CPTC to expand faculty knowledge and use of distinct segments of data that will help instructors see how their students are doing and where they are struggling. Based on that data, CPTC will also be able to better target its personal development strategies for faculty through its Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).

“This is an exciting opportunity that will help us to better focus on factors that significantly impact student success, including classroom experiences and faculty support,” CPTC Vice President of Instruction Thomas Broxson said. “This effort should lead to increased student retention and completion rates and help the college integrate support services to build a more inclusive learning environment.”

Center for success

The TLC was created in 2019 for faculty and staff to enhance student outcomes, particularly among low-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) students. College administration identified a need for this type of support through its Guided Pathways, a research-based approach to higher education that helps simplify the process for students to select, pursue and complete a degree.

From instructional design and curriculum development to professional learning and eLearning support, the TLC provides an array of tools, strategies and practices that help meet the needs of CPTC educators and promote student success.

CPTC Director of Teaching and Learning Kristin Copeland likens the TLC to a cocoon of support around faculty. Teachers can choose from four professional learning tracks, which were developed based on faculty feedback and designed to best serve their learning and professional development needs.

“Based on outcomes and assessment data, the center offers vigorous and sustained training for faculty in a way that honors their time,” Copeland said. “It’s also about lifting up student voices and honoring the student experience in the process.”

Pandemic-fueled rollout

Copeland was part of CPTC’s English and Communications faculty when she became the center’s coordinator in 2019. The plan was to split her time between teaching and leading a slow introduction of faculty support.

“We planned for a five-year rollout,” she said. “But when the pandemic hit, that turned into two weeks.”

Copeland and her team worked through spring break to help faculty transition to on-line instruction. “It was exciting and scary at the same time.”

Copeland became the TLC’s full-time director in 2021. Since then, her staff has grown to include two curriculum and instructional designers and eLearning support staff. The TLC also collaborates closely with the college’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Outcomes and Assessment and the Learning Resource Center. A large portion of the funds from the SIP grant will be used to hire additional staff to oversee and expand TLC offerings.

“It took a lot of people to make this grant happen and strong support from administration,” Copeland said. “Our faculty had already done so well before we had the center and curriculum designers. The Title III SIP grant allows us to keep going and do a lot more.”

The enhancements won’t only serve CPTC.

“Just because we have this funding doesn’t mean what we’re doing with it will be exclusive,” Copeland said. “We’re trying to be leaders and support not only CPTC faculty, staff and students, but colleges around the state as well as our K-12 partners.”