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CAMPUS DIGEST: CBU, Anderson receive 7-figure grants

California Baptist University receives $3M grant to enhance Hispanic student success

By CBU Staff

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP) – California Baptist University is the recipient of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the launch of a new program aimed at improving higher education outcomes for Hispanic and low-income students.

Preparados para el Exito, which means “Prepared for Success” in Spanish, is a five-year program that will provide support to the university’s growing Hispanic student population, half of whom are commuters, to improve retention and degree completion rates.

“CBU’s goal is to create conditions for success,” said Charles D. Sands, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Through the development of additional support and engagement opportunities, we can improve success rates among Hispanic students and begin to close equity gaps in student learning and success.”

Preparados para el Exito will concentrate efforts on two student areas: commuter student engagement and pre-nursing student success. By doing so, CBU aims to improve enrollment, retention and graduation rates for Hispanic and low-income students.

A Commuter Engagement Center and a Peer Mentorship Program will provide commuter students with academic and wraparound services to integrate them more fully into the life of the university.

One of the largest groups of commuter students at CBU are pre-nursing students. In the fall of 2022, more than half of pre-nursing students were Hispanic and 70 percent were commuters. Due to the rigorous demands of the pre-nursing degree, the program experiences a higher rate of dropouts and migrations to other majors during the first two years of study. With the help of the grant, CBU will establish comprehensive support services including a summer bridge program, academic success coaches, tutoring and advising to support pre-nursing students.

“At CBU, we believe every student has a purpose, and the funding secured from the Department of Education will significantly contribute to Hispanic and low-income students completing their degrees and going on to impact the world,” said Paul Eldridge, vice president for University Advancement. “We look forward to the outcomes of this program on the futures of these students, especially those within the nursing degree, for which there is great demand in our region.” 

The objectives of Preparados para el Exito align with the CBU Assessment Strategic Plan 2025. The goals in this plan include closing equity gaps in student learning and success; obtaining funding to address the Hispanic student achievement gap; implementing faculty training and resources; and increasing under-represented minority students’ perceptions of belonging on campus.

CBU was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in 2011 and in fall 2022, more than 40 percent of the student population was Hispanic.

$1.1 million grant will help Anderson University launch Center for Preaching Excellence

By Anderson University Staff

ANDERSON, S.C. (BP) – Anderson University has received a $1.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the Clamp Center for Preaching Excellence.

The program, which is based in the Anderson University College of Christian Studies and Clamp Divinity School, is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that inspires, encourages and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

The Clamp Center for Preaching Excellence will facilitate several key initiatives, including creation of an enhanced preaching curriculum for both new and veteran pastors, ongoing mentoring and coaching programs, and development of training resources specifically designed for pastors in African American churches. The Clamp Center for Preaching Excellence will include the recently launched Center for the Study of African American Preaching.

“We are thankful for this unique opportunity provided by the Lilly Endowment, which will make a difference in the work of countless pastors,” said Anderson University President Evans Whitaker. “The Clamp Center for Preaching Excellence will be a further expression of Anderson University’s commitment to serve the local church and those who minister there.”

Clamp Divinity School’s founding dean, Michael Duduit, believes this Center will be a valuable addition to the School’s existing resources for pastors, which include publishing Preaching magazine, sponsoring the annual National Conference on Preaching and offering academic curriculum, including a Ph.D. program in preaching. In addition to creating the Clamp Center for Preaching Excellence, Anderson University is assisting Wheaton College in carrying out its project funded by Lilly Endowment, which includes hosting the 2024 National Conference on Preaching on the campus of Wheaton College in suburban Chicago.

Anderson University is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in the Black Church and in Hispanic and Asian American Christian traditions.

“Throughout history, preachers often have needed to adapt their preaching practices to engage new generations of hearers more effectively,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We are pleased that the organizations receiving grants in this initiative will help pastors and others in ministry engage in the kinds of preaching needed today to ensure that the Gospel message is heard and accessible for all audiences.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Compelling Preaching Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.

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  • BP Staff