By Tom Spencer, Staff Writer
When two University of New Hampshire professors learned that few transfer students join the College of Engineering and Physical Science (CEPS), they set out to change that.
Sam Pazicni and Margaret Greenslade, both assistant professors of chemistry, discovered that fewer than 15 percent of community college students choose a major in CEPS and fewer than half of those that do graduate from the program.
Greenslade said she and Pazicni worked on the proposal to the National Science Foundation along with people across the Community College System of New Hampshire.
“We looked into this because we know that the cost of a UNH education is high in comparison to other state schools, and one way to make it more affordable is to get some credits completed at community college,” Greenslade said.
Their work paid off. The National Science Foundation will provide a $630,000 grant to be used for “financial and academic support,” according to a UNH press release. Most of the money will support up to 30 students with scholarships over the course of three years.
There will also be programs to help smoothen the transition from community college to CEPS.
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created to promote scientific progress. One of the ways it does this is through grants such as the one UNH received.
According to Greenslade, transfer students may not be completing CEPS degrees due to “transfer shock.”
Greenslade explained that when a student moves to a new institution, but no longer has the resources and support system from the previous institution, the student’s performance is prone to slip. Greenslade said the grant will help mitigate this problem by creating a cohort of transfer students in a course designed specifically for their needs. The instructor will direct these students to information about research opportunities and campus resources.
“The interesting thing we discovered when looking into this problem was that there are resources available to students that even we weren’t aware of,” Greenslade said. “We’re supposed to be able to direct students to these resources.”