Kentucky has set a goal of increasing the educational attainment level of the Commonwealth to the national average by 2020, and to do this Kentucky needs to double the number of baccalaureate degree holders over the next 14 years, from roughly 400,000 in 2000 to nearly 800,000 by 2020. This goal is especially daunting for educational institutions serving the eastern (Appalachian) region of Kentucky. Recent research has shown that students entering the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and 4-year universities that serve the regions with the greatest need (largely comprised of eastern Kentucky) were the least prepared for college study of all students in the state. To address this problem, a collaboration between the Hazard Community and Technical College, University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health, and University of Kentucky has been developed to propose a program to engage promising rural Appalachian community college students in academic, research, psychosocial, and financial support networks to enable them to successfully complete their baccalaureate degree in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. This application proposes to: (a) recruit program participants from HCTC;(b) carefully assess participants'learning- related skills and deficits;(c) provide a program that includes mentoring, instruction in skills necessary to be successful in 4-year institutions of higher learning, structured experiences to expose participants to career options, and group support;(d) facilitate participants'efforts to transfer from community college to 4-year institutions;(e) carefully evaluate each component of the program;and (f) track participants to document and assess participant experience at 4-year institutions. Program evaluation milestones will include the successful recruitment, retention, transfer and graduation of promising students in the biomedical and behavioral sciences;increased communication between faculty at community colleges and baccalaureate institutions;faculty participation in transfer initiatives and program development that promotes the seamless transition of students between participating institutions;development of programs that advance and improve science teaching and mentoring;and development of program resources. This project proposes to develop a comprehensive program for community college students in southeastern Kentucky, a region with very low educational levels. The program will include instruction and experiences to increase participants'awareness of career options, mentoring, and support in applying to transfer from community college to 4-year educational institutions. The program will be evaluated rigorously and will include documentation of all activities, assessment of participant progress, and follow-up after transfer from the community college.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMM-A (50))
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Hamlet, Michelle R
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University of Kentucky
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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