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AANAPISI Program FY 2015 Project Abstracts


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Nine programs were awarded grants in fiscal year 2015, three programs in California and single programs in Illinois, Nevada, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington.

University of Illinois, Chicago, IL | Northern Marianas College, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands | University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV | University of Massachusetts Boston, MA | Evergreen Valley College, San Jose, CA | Coastline Community College, CA | Irvine Valley College, Irvine, CA | Richland College, Dallas, TX | Highline College, WA


University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois

Title: University of Illinois at Chicago's Pipeline for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) Student Success (UIC PASS)

Overview: The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) proposes the Pipeline for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) Student Success or "UIC PASS" to recruit, retain, graduate, and enhance the college experience of AANAPI students, who remain under­served and marginalized at UIC, and as largely first­generation, low­income, immigrant students, are "at risk" for high rates of college attrition. Fostering partnerships between UIC's Asian American Studies Program, Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Writing Center, Math Learning Center, Library, Counseling Center, and off­campus organizations, UIC PASS extends, strengthens, and integrates academic, social, and student services. It serves as a pipeline to build a network of learning communities on and off­campus to meet the needs of AANAPI students during their transition to college, engage with academic and social support while in college, create a sense of belonging and civic engagement, as well as ease their transition from college to their chosen careers. UIC PASS outlines two sets of initiatives: 1) Academically Integrated Mentor Support (AIMS) will address retention of AANAPI students by integrating and enhancing mentor services through the Asian American Mentor Program, academic services through embedded writing, math, and library tutors, and a culturally­relevant curriculum with academic tutoring through Asian American Studies for pre­ or Summer College and First Year AANAPI students; and 2) Excellence in Community Experiential Learning (EXCEL) initiatives will build students' experiential learning skills and ease their transition from college to career. It focuses on building a cohort of students, and identifying clearly defined pathways that link academic knowledge and mentorship with Asian American issues and workplace/community needs. One path links coursework with on­campus organizations, and the other links coursework with off­campus organizations, using an electronic database and resource tool to best identify these community partners. Students on both paths participate in a Practicum, to critically reflect on their community engagement experiences, as well as an annual Symposium that allows students to showcase their service learning experiences and disseminate their knowledge.

Institution's Distinguishing Features: The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is the urban campus of the University of Illinois system and the largest university in the Chicago area. While UIC serves the entire state, its primary service area is Cook County and the surrounding counties of DuPage, Lake, Will, Kane, and McHenry. UIC has 15 schools and colleges and offers 77 bachelors degree programs, 142 graduate and professional degree programs, 13 joint degree programs and 20 certificate programs. In 2014, total enrollment was 27,969, of which 16,698 students or 59.7 percent were undergraduates. Over 92 percent of undergraduates are enrolled full­time. The undergraduate student body is: 35.8 percent Caucasian, 26.4 percent Hispanic/Latino, 22.7 percent Asian American, 8.2 percent Black/African American, 0.3 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and 0.1 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 50.2 percent female. While the majority (80.25 percent) of undergraduates are traditional­age (i.e., 22 years and younger), 8.9 percent of undergraduates are 23­24 years of age, 6.6 percent are age 25­29, and 4.2 percent are over the age of 30. The total number of faculty (tenured and non­tenure track) is 1,917, of whom 47.4 percent are female, 11.4 percent are underrepresented minorities, and 17.9 percent are Asian American or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.


Northern Marianas College (NMC), Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Goal: The goal of Project PROA (Promotion and Retentions Opportunities for Advancement) is to improve and expand the capacity of NMC to increase the number and proportion of high­ need Native Chamorro and Carolinian students who are academically prepared to attend and graduate from NMC on time.

  • Are of Chamorro and Carolinian descent as self­identified; and
  • Have a need for academic support in order to successfully pursue a degree at NMC; and
  • Are a low­income individual based upon federal guidelines; and
  • Are below their grade level equivalency in reading and math (at least below two grade levels); and/or are at risk of failing (based upon GPA and/or lack of credits);
  • Or is an individual with a disability who meets the above criteria.

The following objectives will be achieved over the five year grant period. The objectives and supporting activities are designed to support the achievement of this goal. Due to page restrictions the activities associated with each objective are only provided in the grant narrative.


Phase I – Preparation

Objective 1 – Complete administrative tasks to launch the project

Objective 2 ­– Establish a Chamorro, Carolinian, and Pacific Islander Center – Named Promotion and Retention Opportunities for Advancement (PROA)

Objective 3 ­– Prepare for Implementation


Phase II – Implementation and Evaluation

Objective 4 –­ Increase the academic skills and interests of Chamorro and Carolinian high school juniors and seniors and college freshman (in year 2), in pursuing post­secondary education through the provision of academic tutoring services

Objective 5 ­– Provide counseling and student support services, including cultural mentoring, to Chamorro and Carolinian high school juniors and seniors and college freshmen to support participants’ academic planning, preparation, and success and college and career aspirations

Objective 6 – Improve college and career readiness of Chamorros and Carolinians in their junior and senior years of high school, through the use of technology, including high­quality accessible digital tools and assessments, specifically accelerated learning, and Kuder’s assessment.

Objective 7 ­– Support participants to attend college and earn college credit while in high school (dual enrollment) and during freshmen year in college Objective 8 ­ Evaluate Project PROA


Phase III – Dissemination and Sustainability

Objective -­ Disseminate Project Information and Findings

Objective - 10 ­ Sustain Project Activities

Project outcomes, which will be assessed through implementation of the comprehensive evaluation plan, include improved: cultural identity; academic motivation; college and career aspirations; academic engagement; academic achievement; academic outcomes; and graduation from high school with a diploma. In addition, the following outcomes will be achieved: increased enrollment in the Early Admissions program; increased percentage of Carolinian and Chamorro high school students who meet CMNI state reading and math proficiency standards; increased number of college credits earned during HS; increased number of Carolinian and Chamorro students who enter NMC; increased retention of Carolinian and Chamorro students at NMC; and increased college graduation rates of Carolinian and Chamorro students.


University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Las Vegas, Nevada

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is a public, metropolitan university with an undergraduate enrollment exceeding 23,000 students. With more than 220 university­degree programs, UNLV serves as the primary provider of bachelors­level, masters­level, and doctoral­level courses for the more than two million residents of Clark County, Nevada. Nearly 4,000 of UNLV’s undergraduates are Asian American or Native American Pacific Islanders (AANAPI), while more than 9,700 undergraduates are disadvantaged (DA)—i.e., low­income and/or first­generation­college—students with a Need for Academic Support (NFAS) in order to persist in postsecondary education and complete a baccalaureate degree. On various indicators of academic performance (year­to­year persistence rates, cumulative GPA, graduation rates, and post baccalaureate enrollment rates), UNLV’s DA­NFAS students (15 percent of which are AANAPI) are far outstripped by their more advantaged classmates.

Annually, from 2015­2020, the UNLV AANAPISI Project (“the project”) will serve 2 00 of the institution’s DA­NFAS undergraduates, with at least 50 percent of project participants being AANAPISI students and no less than 75 percent of project participants being low­income individuals. Thus, the project will respond directly to the FY2015 AANAPISI grant competition’s Absolute Priority, “Projects that are designed to increase the number and proportion of high­need students ... who ...complete on time college,” with project participants meeting the definition of “high need” by virtue of the fact that they are all “at risk of educational failure” and the overwhelming majority of them (i.e., at least 75 percent) live in poverty. With the full support of the UNLV administration and of institutional units across the UNLV campus, the project will provide participants with an array of services, including:

  • Academic tutoring;
  • Counseling (i.e., academic; undergraduate financial­aid; career; and graduate/professional­school admissions and financial­aid);
  • Support for undergraduate research; and
  • Frequent, ongoing academic­progress monitoring.

These services will assist participants with overcoming barriers that would otherwise impede their academic progress and lead to their premature departure from higher education. Furthermore, as a result of receiving these services, the participants will earn cumulative GPAs that are high enough to qualify them for admission to upper­level undergraduate programs and to post baccalaureate studies. Additionally, at rates substantially higher than those of DA­NFAS students who receive no assistance from the project, participants will:

  • Persist from year to year in their respective degree programs;
  • Graduate from the institution in five and six­year time frames; and
  • Enroll in postbaccalaureate studies.


University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) is ideally situated to provide high quality, innovative, and cost­effective interventions that expand the university’s capacity to successfully and comprehensively serve high­need, low­income and first generation Asian American students. UMB is one of a handful of research universities in the United States that received AANAPISI support in 2010, and institutionally plays a national leadership role in relation to AANAPISI­centered pedagogy, curriculum development, research, student leadership, and community engagement. It is the only urban public research university in the Boston metropolitan, and has a service area that includes large, vibrant, and historically significant Khmer (Cambodian), Vietnamese, and Chinese communities. The project has two overarching goals: 1) to increase college access for Asian Americans who are low­income or first­generation college goers, and for traditionally under­represented Asian American ethnic populations; and 2) to increase Asian American student retention and graduation. The project strategically partners with three high schools, three community­based organizations, and the region’s largest community college to recruit high­need Asian Americans as first­year and transfer students. A wide range of campus­based activities and services—from culturally responsive academic advising and counseling to robust peer tutoring and peer mentoring to critical leadership development and undergraduate research mentoring opportunities in collaboration with AANAPISI­centered faculty—will expand the university’s capacity to address the urgent needs of under­served, low­income and traditionally under­represented Asian American students. The AANAPISI project will also address critical needs for assessment, evaluation, and new empirical research focusing on Asian American college access, completion, and educational equity.


Evergreen Valley College, San Jose, California

Application for a grant of $1,426,230 under the U.S. Department of Education program to Strengthen Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander­Serving Institutions

Southeast Asian American Student Excellence  (SEAASE) is a project to recruit, prepare, and guide more Southeast Asian American (SEAA) students to s eize the opportunity to enroll at Evergreen Valley College (EVC) and complete major steps toward their personal goals for academic excellence. The special focus of the project is the new Vietnamese and other SEAA students who enroll at EVC each year. This target population, as a group, needs reinforcements in making the transition to college, setting assertive careers goals, expanding critical thinking and leadership skills and developing fluency in business English.

Much of the needed support for SEAA students arises from differences between their cultural heritage and the dominant “American” culture. “Seizing” something, for example, would be standard in the dominant United States culture; but not in a culture that values respect and avoids unnecessary confrontation. Each participant in Project SEAASE will learn how to understand these culture differences and how to confront their personal decisions regarding their place in this spectrum.

In addition to meeting student needs, the staff and faculty will be expanding and improving the long­term capacity of the college to serve its diverse 14,000students. This is key for a college that is over 90 percent from “minority” populations, including over 35 percent Asian Americans.

Goal: Project SEAASE will increase the capacity of EVC to serve the range of needs of SEAA students and demonstrate that capacity by achieving higher results for additional new SEAA students. To accomplish this series of services will implement the single activity of the Project:  Infusing culturally appropriate information and examples into the recruiting, preparation and teaching of SEAA students at EVC.

These new or expanded services include: outreach and support for initial enrollment, introductory summer programs, more student engagement, new teaching modules, advanced teaching of English skills, and intrusive career coaching. In five years these steps are to achieve six main objectives:

  1. Enroll 1,500 new SEAA students each year from baseline of 1,000.
  2. Assist 75 SEAA students to complete successfully a new advanced oral English class each year 2016­17 through 2019­20.
  3. Create an accessible library of 150 modules for teaching critical thinking and leadership skills with SEAA culturally appropriate examples.
  4. Support a growing number of SEAA students holding leadership positions on campus or in the community. (15 starting in 2015­16 to 100 in 2019­20)
  5. Increase the Fall­to­Fall rate of SEAA student persistence (retention) from 62.9 percent to 75 percent.
  6. Increase completions so that within 24 months of enrollment, 70 percent of SEAA students earn 40 credits, OR earn an industry­recognized certification, OR transfer to four­year college.

The proposal responds to the Absolute Priority and both Competitive Preference Priorities.


Coastline Community College, Fountain Valley, California

New Asian American Pacific Islander (APIA) Generation Initiative (NAPIAGI)

Coastline Community College, serves Orange County, one of California’s largest disadvantaged Asian American Pacific Islander (APIA) communities. The New APIA Generation Initiative’s goal will seek to improve the persistence and time to completion rates to match or exceed state averages for APIA students. It will also seek to significantly increase the number of APIA students who enroll full­time. Shortly after its founding in 1976 the college responded to the migration of Southeast Asians and the Pacific Islanders to the area. Today, those refugees have children and grandchildren flooding the local high schools. Asian students now represent 50 percent to 78 percent of the students at three high schools and 20 percent to 40 percent at four other high schools.

In reviewing College institutional effectiveness statistics, the Planning, Institutional Effectiveness, and Accreditation Committee (PIEAC), found it disquieting that in spring 2014, of its hundreds of APIA student, only 26 graduated within three years. After much research of local student needs and the study of successful programs at other institutions serving large numbers of APIA students, a college­wide initiative was designed to target APIA high school graduates in the cities of Garden Grove and Westminster, some of these schools report over 70 percent of their students were Asian American Pacific Islanders.

For the N ew APIA Generation Initiative , Coastline revamped its STAR program to target recent APIA high school graduates. The program addresses student concerns about guaranteed classes being offered at one location. The STAR program is only for full­time students. From the time of their acceptance into the program the student will be assigned a specific counselor and later a mentor. Tutors will be embedded in their college­level English, math, and science courses. The English and student success courses will be contextualized with materials and assignments reflecting the APIA student’s culture and history.

A new system of predictive analytics will be used to monitor student progress in all of the classes. When the system detects possible problems an early alert will be sent to the APIA student’s counselor, faculty member, and mentor.

At other APIA­serving institution, Coastline found that a multicultural center fostered higher participation in campus activities, services, and increased retention. Using institutional, non­federal funds, the College plans to remodel a 1,900 square foot space at its Garden Grove Center to provide the APIA students with a space to study, be tutored and mentored, attend leadership and language training, plus participate in cultural events. Alcoves for small group gatherings to study or to share frustrations and experiences will be part of the Student Study and Multicultural Center (SSMC). The SSMC will be the focus of counseling, tutoring, and the student support portions of the  New APIA Generation Initiative. 

Objective 1. B y September 30, 2020, increase the fall ­to ­fall persistence rate by 3 percent annually of first ­time, full­-time, award and/or degree seeking APIA students. Baseline (2013/14 CCCCO Scorecard): 56.4 percent or 188. Target Outcomes: (2016) 59.4 percent, (2017) 62.4 percent, (2018) 65.4 percent, (2019) 68.4 percent, (2020) 71.4 percent. Objective 2. B y September 30, 2020, increase by 60 percent the number of APIA students who complete an AA or AS degree within three years or less. Baseline (2013/2014 three­ year cohort): 26. Target Outcomes: (2016) 26, (2017) 27, (2018) 30, (2019) 35, (2020) 42. Objective 3. By September 30, 2020, increase by 40 percent the number of APIA full-­time, degree ­seeking students. Baseline (20/13/2014): 675. Target Out comes: (2016) 705, (2017) 745, (2018) 805, (2019) 875, (2020) 945.


Irvine Valley College, Irvine, California 

Irvine Valley College (IVC) sits at the gateway to south Orange County, serving planned communities recognized as some of the best places in the country to live and a vibrant, fast ­growing economy that has been called the “business hub” of the county. Founded in 1979, it had an enrollment of 14,384 students in the Fall of 2014. According to the 2010 U.S.Census, Orange County has the third greatest concentration of Asian Americans in the country. Adjusting for those who decline to state their ethnicity by removing them from the denominator, the proportion of students identifying specifically with Asian American, Native American and/or Pacific Islander backgrounds (including multi­ethnic students who identify with at least one of these ethnicities) is 41 percent. To meet the needs of these students, IVC’s Student Success Center offers tutoring in the following Asian languages: Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi.

IVC is seeking to better address the needs of Asian American Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) students by establishing a new Intercultural Interactive Learning Center (IILC) which will be a regional magnet for the most effective interventions designed to increase the number and proportion of high­ need students who are academically prepared for, enroll in, or complete on time college, other postsecondary education, or other career and technical education. Accordingly, this project will address two competitive priorities including: 1) Academic tutoring and counseling programs and student support services; and 2) Projects that are designed to leverage technology through implementing high­ quality accessible digital tools, assessments, and materials that are aligned with rigorous college­ and career ­ready standards.

IVC’s ANNAPISI project is focused on addressing the needs of disadvantaged students, particularly low­income students, first generation students, and English Second Language (ESL) students. This project proposes three major activities.

Activity 1.0: Difference Education Intervention ­ In line with the theoretical and empirical breakthrough in the work of Stephens, Hamedani, & Destin (2014), IVC will implement a difference­education intervention that teaches high­need students how their social class backgrounds can affect what they experience in college.

Activity 2.0: English as a Second Language Acceleration and Technology Project – IVC will adopt new high­quality accessible digital tools, assessment, and materials needed to speed up the process by which AANAPI students in ESL learn English and combine these benefits with an accelerated ESL learning program.

Activity 3.0: AANAPI Intercultural Interactive Learning Center (IILC) – IVC will construct a new IILC which will house specialized academic tutoring and counseling programs and student support services. This facility will be unique in that it will also feature access to unpaid internships, peer­mentor training, undergraduate research opportunities, and the resources of the South Coast Chinese Cultural Association’s (SCCCA) innovative Irvine Chinese School.


Richland College, Dallas, Texas

Richland College Builds Bridges for APIA Students

Richland College (RLC), a two ­year institution in Dallas, Texas, currently serves 4,680 American Asian Pacific Islander (APIA) students, including large numbers of Vietnamese and substantial numbers of Bhutanese/Burmese and others, including refugees. Many experience financial need. These students come to RLC from diverse nations/ethnicities and school districts with significant challenges, and frequently, are not be ready for college. RLC proposes to increase the three ­year graduation rate for APIA students who are academically challenged or academically high performing, and who have one or more risks to success and completion. The two groups share the major risk of low ­income. RLC will attain improvements in completions rates by implementing research ­supported strategies reflected in the objectives below.

Goal: R LC’s proposed objectives will address barriers to higher education access and  success by offering APIA students bridges into community college as well as four­ year institutions. Objective 1: To increase the three­ year graduation rate  for each Asian American Native American Pacific Islander­Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) student cohort (i.e., full­-time students entering for the first time each Fall term and receiving one or more services) by 1­2 percent over baseline for each Project Year (PY, i.e., 10/01 – 09/30), i.e., from baseline of 14 percent to 15 percent (1 percent increase) in PY1, 16 percent by PY2, 18 percent by PY3, 9 percent by PY4, and 20 percent by the end of the project period. Objective 2: To deliver a four ­week, 20 hour per week, Summer Bridge program (inclusive of tutoring) to 30 APIA students with academic challenges in English each PY. Objective 3: To provide student navigation services for 90 APIA students with one or more risk factors per PY. Objective 4: To deliver 800 hours of English tutoring per PY, online and on ­ground, to students including APIA students in navigation. Objective 5: To deliver two or more professional development sessions to 40 or more full-­time and part-­time/adjunct English faculty and tutors per PY (duplicated and unduplicated). Objective 6: Thirty (30) APIA students per PY will complete a semester ­long leadership development program. Objective 7: Fifty (50) new APIA students per PY from feeder schools will complete the Honors Academy summer bridge day and enroll in Honors courses in their freshman year. Objective 8: One hundred (100) APIA RLC Honors Academy students per PY will participate in Honors courses with integrated extra­ and co-­curricular activities, including bridge activities to four­ year honors programs. Objective 9: Representatives from twelve or more (12+) Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) will participate in an annual, research ­focused convening at RLC to share strategies, best practices, and empirical research in PYs 2 - ­5.

RLC is collaborating with the Organization of Bhutanese Society DFW, the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, local feeder high schools, and local minority chambers of commerce to conduct effective outreach and offer leadership development opportunities for APIA students. Letters of support are included with the project narrative document.

RLC also aims to engage in data analysis, including disaggregated data analysis, to better understand how to support different APIA communities’ students. RLC will share its findings and encourage larger scale research efforts through an annual convening focused on empirical research on APIA two­ and four-­year education.


Highline College, Des Moines, Washington

Highline College, located in Des Moines, Washington, is launching an AANAPISI project, titled  Asian American/Pacific Islander–Supporting Our Students (APIA­SOS) . The project addresses several needs in improving the college’s work with Asian American and Pacific Islander (APIA) communities, including the following: (1) differentiating strategies among different APIA populations; (2) addressing low levels of educational attainment and economic disadvantage; (3) preparing students with low levels of academic preparation; and (4) making strategic changes in institutional management to be more sensitive to the needs of APIA students and to develop a data infrastructure that will allow the college to differentiate among different cultures within the broader APIA community.

The ultimate goals of APIA-SOS is to improve academic outcomes among students, as well as engagement and satisfaction among faculty, parents, and community members. The goals for APIA-­SOS include the following:

  • Increase the persistence rate of first­-time, full-­time degree ­seeking students as follows: o from 67 percent to 75 percent (fall ­to ­fall) (annual) o from 88 percent to 93 percent (fall­ to ­winter) (one term)
  • Increase the persistence rate of first-­time, part-­time degree ­seeking students as follows: o from 41 percent to 55 percent (fall­ to ­fall) (annual) o from 60 percent to 75 percent (fall­ to­ winter) (one term)
  • Increase the three­ year graduation rate of first ­time, full­-time degree seeking students from 34 percent to 44 percent
  • Increase the percentage of students transitioning from English ­as ­Second language courses (noncredit) to college courses from 10.88 percent to 20 percent
  • Increase the number of APIA students attending High line from 1,495 to 1,700
  • Improve satisfaction and engagement among APIA students due to new programming.

APIA­-SOS i s composed of seven specific strategies designed to meet these goals, as follows:

  1. A series of community engagement strategies to engage the different communities and prospective students from the different APIA communities. The purpose of this strategy is to increase enrollment and awareness among APIA residents.
  2. Use of strategic academic advising and support services through a Retention Specialist specifically assigned to APIA students. This position will help APIA students navigate through college systems and program and closely monitor performance in support of academic outcome goals.
  3. Redesign of nine gateway courses and places in learning communities specifically for APIA students. The purpose of this strategy is to increase APIA student engagement and academic performance.
  4. Co­curricular activities. These activities helps students engage more with their communities by serving, for example, as APIA Ambassadors in their communities.
  5. Faculty professional development designed to improve cultural responsiveness to the needs of APIA students.
  6. Endowment funding to support (eventually) funding for ESL students’ first term in college level courses. The transition from ESL to college­level courses is a significant financial barrier.
  7. Disaggregation of data of APIA students to allow the college to support distinct cultures within the larger APIA community.


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