Cal Poly Pomona plans to bolster support services for graduate students with the help of a $2.68 million grant.
The five-year federal grant will fund Project LOGRAR (Leveraging Opportunities for Graduate Research and Resources), which will enhance the university’s existing infrastructure and services for primarily Hispanic and underrepresented minorities graduate students. Lograr means to achieve in Spanish.
This marks the second multi-year Title V part B grant the university has received to help bolster graduate studies resources, said Laura Massa, associate vice president for academic programs and accreditation liaison.
“We want to improve our Hispanic and low-income-student enrollment in graduate studies,” Massa said. “We will do a needs assessment to determine any obstacles, roadblocks and myths students might face to determine what they need to get them invested in graduate education.”
Through the effort, Cal Poly Pomona will provide financial aid, financial literacy training, tutoring and writing assistance, as well as guest speakers from various industries and create a collaborative research experience to enhance the graduate student experience. Another component involves faculty development that will focus on strategies for teaching underrepresented students.
Also in the works is a Graduate Resource Center on campus that will serve as a place where students can network, study and have meetings. The center will provide internship opportunities, tutoring and academic support, as well as help with thesis writing and quantitative analysis.
Salomon Oldak, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and faculty director of graduate studies, said the center will create a sense of community for graduate students.
“Many of our graduate students feel lost when they start working on their thesis,” he said. “I think this will help them do it in a more effective way, and they will be able to do better work with less effort.”
Cal Poly Pomona has 30 master’s degree programs, five credential programs and one doctorate program in educational leadership. There are about 1,500 graduate and credential students on campus.
“This is very exciting,” Oldak said of the center. “We have never had anything like this on campus.”
The initial steps include the formation of an advisory committee and the hiring of an external evaluator and project coordinator to oversee the initiatives and the center, according to Massa.
Within the next year, the hope is to create a physical space, but the initiatives will get underway immediately, Massa said.
The idea behind graduate school for most students is to advance their careers, she said.
“Let’s build their confidence, knowledge and expertise,” Massa said, “and help them to become even more employable.”