COMPASS Initiatives (2013-2018)

In September 2013, Lawrence was awarded a $2,136,998 grant from the Department of Education (Title III Strengthening Institutions Program). The five-year, federally-funded grant will allow Lawrence to implement an integrated network of academic support initiatives designed to help students overcome obstacles and achieve their educational goals. To achieve the goal of increasing retention and graduation rates, the grant will support several activities:

• Additional staff positions for the Center for Teaching & Learning and Student Academic Services (now Center for Academic Success) that will substantially increase the hours of each term of one-on-one and small group academic skills development, as well as ESL services.

• A retention management system will be launched with new software to coordinate faster, more targeted connections to students who would benefit from supportive, individualized outreach by a network of faculty and staff.

• New bridge programs will develop core skills and better prepare incoming students for college.

•  New and advanced training for faculty advisors to equip them with tools to provide better, more culturally competent academic advising and mentoring.

•  The CORE peer mentoring program launched in the fall of 2013, will be expanded to serve all freshmen, matching each Freshman Studies section with two upper-division peer mentors. The CORE mentors will help first-year students make Connections, receive ongoing Orientation, identify and utilize campus Resources and develop realistic Expectations about academics and student life.

The name of our Title III grant-funded initiatives is COMPASS, which is an acronym for: Commitment to Orientation, Mentoring, Persistence, Advising, Support, and Success.

Evaluation of Community QPR Gatekeeper Training (2011-2012)

Dr. Kathleen Fuchs, Project Director for the Lawrence Lifeline Project, was awarded a $1,500 Mielke Family Foundation Faculty Research Grant to aid in the evaluation of QPR in the Fox Valley community. Kristin McKinley was the project evaluator. The purpose was to assess the effectiveness of QPR in the community and to build a community data set to strengthen future suicide prevention and mental health grant or funding proposals as we work with the community to build a coordinated system of mental health care in the Fox Valley community. 

The following outcomes occurred:

  • Created a community-wide QPR pre- and post-survey in collaboration with representatives from National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) - Fox Valley, Community for Hope - Fox Cities (now Prevent Suicide Fox Cities), and M-Link Mental Health Integration Grant (named Mental Health Linkages) funded by the Department of Education to connect families, communities, and schools in the Heart of the Valley (Kaukauna, Kimberly, and Little Chute). 
  • Built a comprehensive community dataset. 
  • Analyzed data and prepared reports for community stakeholders (e.g., Affinity Health System, ThedaCare, M-Link including Heart of the Valley school districts and Fox Valley Metro Police Department, and clergy). Based on the report, Affinity Health System committed funds for ongoing training.

The Lawrence Lifeline Project (2009-2013)

In 2008 Lawrence University submitted a grant proposal to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant. In September 2009 Lawrence was selected to become one of 22 Garrett Lee Smith Cohort 4 campus grantees. The university was awarded $300,000 for three years to develop, implement, and evaluate a suicide prevention program on campus. We received a no-cost extension of the grant, ending in June 2013.

The two mutually reinforcing goals of the Lawrence Lifeline Project are to (I) Strengthen Systemic and Sustainable Structures to effectively address the mental health needs of students particularly those at high risk; and (II) Change Campus Culture to reduce stigma, reduce suicide risk factors ingrained in the academic and social culture on campus, and promote awareness and use of mental health services.

Our objectives are: (1) to implement project activities in a transparent and inclusive manner, drawing on perspectives and expertise of broad and diverse on- and off-campus constituencies; (2) to develop new and enhance existing training programs for campus personnel and students to recognize, respond to, and refer distressed students, support students affected by suicidal behavior of others, and respond in culturally competent ways; (3) to strengthen internal and external networking infrastructures; (4) to develop comprehensive, culturally appropriate educational outreach approaches tailored to the unique needs of our campus; (5) to monitor, evaluate, assess, and report on program activities to assure sustainability.


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