The National Institutes of Health awarded Delaware State University a four-year $1.46 million grant that will fund an innovative program to increase the persistence success of new freshmen enrolled in the biomedical-related degree programs.
The co-Principal Investigators of the grant are Dr. Germaine Hemphill Cheatham, Dr. Xuanren Wang-Goodman, and Dr. Melissa Harrington.
Dr. Cheatham notes that the first year is one of transition for both students and their parents.
“Parental engagement and support are crucial contributors toward the success of a student, especially during the first year of college,” Dr. Cheatham said. “The premise of this study is that if parents are informed, they will inform their students. In turn, this will increase the likelihood that students will persist and meet postsecondary expectations towards graduation.”
The grant will fund the creation of the Parent University (PU) Program, which will engage the parents of the students through strategically executed broadcasts and messaging, and thereby enable the parents to encourage their enrolled sons and daughters toward academic success more effectively.
Parents will receive orientation sessions, PU-related text messages, and have access to mentors from various student services offices as well as to virtual forums that will cover a range of topics relative to students.
The researchers will use the collected data from the program to determine whether and how Parent University may increase the persistence and retention of the students.
“This program allows us to scientifically examine whether and to what extent parental support influences their children’s academic performance in college,” Dr. Wang-Goodman said.“We cannot wait to start the project and share the results obtained from the program. We hope the findings will inspire other universities and colleges to build similar programs, helping students nationwide.”
The study will involve participating students from the academic programs of College of Agriculture, Sciences and Technology as well as the academic disciplines of Kinesiology, Nursing, Public Health and Psychology.