Developing pathways to an educated, diverse workforce for St. Louis

As one of the most diverse universities in the state, the University of Missouri–St. Louis is committed to building an inclusive academic community, one where equity is reality and the opportunity to transform lives through higher education is accessible to all.

Our commitment begins long before students are enrolled in college. For example, the UMSL Bridge Program prepares high school students to successfully transition to college by delivering year-round, free academic and college access programming.

The program – with financial support from Express Scripts – serves nearly 5,000 high school students and parents from across the St. Louis region annually. The majority of students are underrepresented minorities and nearly half will become the first in their families to attend college.

First launched in 1986 by Dr. Marguerite Ross Barnett, former UMSL chancellor, the Bridge Program remains one of the most successful and widely emulated models for precollegiate programming in the country. Since 2003, Bridge graduates have boasted a 100 percent high school matriculation and college attendance rate.

However, supporting diverse students on their journey to college is only a first step. Once enrolled, it is critical that universities provide wrap-around services that eliminate barriers to degree completion and go beyond those that are traditionally financial or situational.

At UMSL, we offer a comprehensive, multi-tiered academic support model through our Student Academic Support Services unit to meet the needs of every student. This unit provides targeted supports and workshops for students facing academic challenges where a team of success coaches work with students to offer holistic and individualized academic services.

The University Tutoring Center provides students with learning tools to help them develop effective study skills, strategies and resources that enhance their learning, all designed to promote academic success.

Our Multicultural Student Services unit provides comprehensive services focused on supporting diverse student populations, including academic coaching, professional development, mentoring and workshops.

UMSL was recently awarded with a five-year, $1.3 million grant fro the U.S. Department of Education's TRIO Student Support Services program to further enhance tutoring, mentoring and financial literacy in order to help students reach their educational and career goals.

This competitive grant – awarded from more than 2,000 proposals submitted nationally – will provide annual, targeted supports to 140 first-generation students from under-resourced backgrounds with an objective to increase the rates at which students remain in good academic standing and ultimately earn their degrees.

The outcome of these efforts is clear. Academic success and degree attainment lead to career success.

It also means success for St. Louis, where more than 75 percent of UMSL graduates remain to live, work and drive the region’s economy and contribute mightily to its social well-being.

The St. Louis region needs an educated, diverse workforce, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis meets that need by graduating the most diverse workforce in the state.

Through higher education and degree attainment, we rise up St. Louis and build inclusive prosperity in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Gratefully forward,

Kristin

 


 

 

 

BY KRISTIN SOBOLIK
CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI–ST. LOUIS

Supporting diverse students on their journey to college is only a first step