Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 6, 2003 - Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a five-year $1,012,072 federal grant to establish the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program here beginning Sept. 1.

The McNair program, one of the federal TRIO programs, prepares first generation, limited income and underrepresented students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

There are only 162 McNair programs nationwide. Southeast was the only institution in Missouri and one of only 25 in the country awarded a five-year grant, said Trent Ball, Southeast assistant dean of students. The others operate under four-year grants, including programs at St. Louis University, Truman State University and the University of Missouri.

"This brings additional prestige to Southeast's grant programs," Ball said.

The McNair program joins Project Upward Bound and Student Support Services under Southeast's umbrella of TRIO programs. Under McNair, Southeast officials will work closely with participating students through their undergraduate requirements, encouraging them to enter graduate programs and tracking their progress to successful completion of advanced degrees. McNair is designed to increase the attainment of doctoral students from underrepresented segments of society.

Up to 50 students, beginning in their sophomore year, will be selected to participate and will have the opportunity to engage in research opportunities, faculty mentoring, seminars and other scholarly activities designed to prepare them for doctoral studies. Students also will participate in tutoring and academic counseling and will receive assistance in obtaining student financial aid and career guidance, and in securing admission and financial aid for enrollment in graduate programs.

"This is going to be a great program and will provide a wonderful opportunity for these students," said Dr. Irene Ferguson, Southeast dean of students.

Southeast will begin the process immediately of a national search for a director of the McNair program. Fifteen Southeast faculty mentors have already committed to the program to mentor students, to provide research opportunities for them and to foster collaboration for them with doctoral programs at other universities.

Ball says establishing the McNair program is particularly important at a time when Southeast's enrollment continues to grow.

"When our numbers have increased steadily every year, we are going to need culturally aware faculty. The good thing about this program is that by the time we get through our five-year cycle, we will have more Ph.D's here."

With the addition of the McNair program, Southeast's TRIO programs are now serving students in 10th grade through doctoral studies.


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