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Title III - Strengthening Institutions Grant

Pathways to Persistence and Success

In October 2018, Cambridge College was awarded a $2.25M Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant aimed at increasing success for students through a comprehensive framework of focused support beginning at enrollment and continuing through graduation. The funds, to be delivered over a five year period, will provide Cambridge College with the financial backing to ensure that students not only persist to degree completion, but finish their programs of study in a timely manner. 

Strengthening Institutions Grants are awarded to eligible institutions of higher education seeking to expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of the institution.

Since opening its doors in 1971, Cambridge College has been dedicated to educating non-traditional students who face many barriers to accessing higher education. As an institution of access and opportunity, Cambridge College responds effectively to the needs and expectations of adult students, who balance work, family, and personal responsibilities, by offering flexible course scheduling options during three full semesters per year.

The project, Pathways to Persistence and Success (P2PS), will foster a culture of continuous improvement through two integrated components that will improve academic supports and ensure the appropriate assessment of student learning outcomes. The two main activities of the grant are:

  1. Transforming the Student Experiences: Emphasizes a continuum of support through enhanced enrollment systems that improve orientation and incorporate academic, personal and career assessments leading to a comprehensive First-Year Experience, which is designed to connect skill-building to learning experiences, personal strengths and career paths. Supported by an early alert system, an expanded suite of timely interventions coordinated by Academic Coaches, and a student services portal that improves communication among students, faculty and staff, the transformed student experience will ensure a significant increase in student persistence and degree completion rates.
  1. Reforming Curriculum and Instruction: Creates a multi-tiered framework of outcomes assessments and instruction to gather meaningful data on how well students are attaining identified knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The framework will improve and inform the coherence of program design, and incorporate high impact practices into the learning experience. Supported by a comprehensive professional development program, coordinated through the College’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CELT), the reformed educational experience will prepare Cambridge College graduates for success in today’s competitive global economy.

View Issue 01 of The Success Connection, the Fall 2019 Title III newsletter

Inside, we outline the changes that have been made at the College using the Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant. You'll meet new Success Coaches, hear about the new onboarding process, learn about the Starfish Student Success Network, and get a sneak peek into what the Title III Task Force is working on this year.
Published December 10, 2019. Issue 02 coming Spring 2020.

Download the P2PS Handbook

Please contact Tracy McLaughlin, Title III Activity Director, with any questions about this project at tracy.mclaughlin@cambridgecollege.edu or 617-873-0150.




The goals to be achieved by the College during this five-year funding period are as follows:

Title III Five-Year Goals

Measurable Objectives

Related Tasks & Methods

Tangible Results

Goal 1: Increase students' commitment to academic and career goals through individualized coaching and timely support services.

1.1  Increase student commitment to academic goals from 42% to 52% as measured by College Student Inventory (CSI) by September 2023.

1.2  Increase student planning for life and career goals from 42% to 52% as measured by CSI by September 2023.

  • Implement expanded orientation.
  • Implement academic and career assessments.
  • Implement coaching system.
  • Implement First-Year Experience (FYE) course and activities.


  • 6 trained and certified coaches provide intensive support to students.
  • 1,400 students receive proactive services through enhanced enrollment systems.
  • 1,150 students participate in FYE course and activities.
  • 10% point increase in student commitment to academic goals achieved.
  • 10% point increase in planning life and career pathway achieved.

Goal 2: Increase capacity to assess student learning through the integration of new technology, professional development that results in outcomes assessments, and a reformed undergraduate curriculum.

2.1  Increase the capacity to assess student learning from 0% to 100% in targeted courses as measured by portfolio and rubrics by September 2023.

2.2  Increase use of new technology by faculty, staff, and students from 0% to 100% as measured by data analytics by September 2023.

  • Implement student learning outcomes assessment.
  • Install upgraded technology.
  • Install professional development portal.
  • Implement professional development for faculty.
  • 50 courses in 9 academic programs and General Education infused with institutionalized outcomes assessments and instructional strategies.
  • 115 faculty and staff participate in professional development.
  • 100% increase in capacity to assess student learning.

Goal 3: Increase progress to degree completion through the synergy of improved support, outcomes, and instruction embedded in Pathways to Persistence and Success.

3.1  Increase fall-to-fall persistence from 56% to 70% through P2PS as measured by institutional research data by September 2023.

3.2  Increase 4-year graduation rate from 39% to 47% through P2PS by September 2023.  


  • Implement early alert and interventions.
  • Implement student success platform and interventions.
  • 1,400 students enrolled in early alert systems and interventions for student success.
  • 14% point increase in fall-to-fall persistence achieved.
  • 8% point increase in the 4-year graduation rate achieved.


Title III Coordination

In order to effectively implement these initiatives and meet and track the stated goals, a planning and design team, the Title III Task Force, has been established by the College. Oversight is provided by the Title III Steering Committee, which is led by the provost.  

Title III Task Force

Tracy McLaughlin, Ph.D. - Associate Provost for Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and Title III Grant Activity Director

Robyn Shahid-Bellot, M.Ed., MBA - Title III Grant Senior Director of Systems Integration

James Lee, Ed.D. - Dean, School of Undergraduate Studies

Brooks Winchell, M.A. - Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Michael Dickinson, M.A. - Director of Undergraduate Advising

Katie Shannon, M.Ed. - Student Navigation Manager


Title III Steering Committee

Jerry Ice, Ph.D. - Interim Provost, Title III Coordinator

Tracy McLaughlin, Ph.D. - Associate Provost, Title III Activity Director

James Lee, Ed.D. - Dean, School of Undergraduate Studies

Mark Rotondo, J.D. - Vice President for Innovation and Strategic Initiatives

John Spinard, MBA - Vice President for Finance and Administration

Regina Robinson, M.A. - Dean of Student Affairs

Brooks Winchell, M.A. - Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Michael Dickinson, M.A. - Director of Undergraduate Advising

Kathleen Hartnett, M.A. - Student Success Coach

Lucilia Valerio, Ph.D. - Professor, Chair, Multidisciplinary Studies

Rebecca Heimel, MFA - Professor, Elizabeth J. McCormack Chair of Humanities

Andrew Banasiewicz, Ph.D. - Professor, Graduate School of Management

Robert Martinez, Ph.D. - Senior Instructor, School of Undergraduate Studies

Nancy Yates, M.A. - Senior Instructor, School of Undergraduate Studies

Teresa Forte, MBA - Director of the Springfield Regional Center


Title III External Evaluators

Katherine German, Ph.D. - Vice President, Development Institute

Philip Sbaratta, Ph.D. - Senior Associate, Development Institute