Sam Houston State University has received $150,000 from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to aid with recruiting, and retaining, minority students that have been historically underrepresented.
The money is geared towards the Master of Science in Dietetics and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees at SHSU. Only 17 percent of the 80 students in the nursing program during the 2012-13 academic year were African-American or Hispanic, according to a press release. Only two of 10 students admitted in the dietetics program in fall 2013 were African-American or Hispanic.
The Collegiate Hispanic and African-American Mentoring Program, CHAAMP, is designated to target first-generation students who are preparing for application in either degrees.
“Both the dietetics and nursing programs are highly competitive and scholastically demanding,” Jack Turner, assistant dean of the College of Health Sciences and director of CHAAMP, said in a press release. “We often see students in these two ethnic groups who have the interest, desire and work ethic to be successful…without a supportive academic program such as CHAAMP, these students frequently fall through the cracks.”
Students who become involved in CHAAMP are required to participate in weekly study groups, submit grade check forms, take part in community projects, attend workshops which focus on issues minority students encounter, as well as be involved with a professional speaker series.
Anticipated long-term effects of CHAAMP include increased test scores on the Test of Essential Academic Skills, improved GRE scores and improved scores on the national licensing examinations for both nursing and dietetics.
“Our goal is to increase the student’s skills on these standardized exams such that their performance is commensurate with competitive levels,” Turner said. “After all, our job here is to help students.”