COSTA MESA, Calif., Oct. 23, 2017 — Bolstering its capacity as a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) — one of only three in Orange County — Vanguard University has been awarded a landmark, five-year, $3.75 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. Vanguard University will use this Title V grant to not only increase retention and graduation rates among Hispanic and low-income transfer students, but also develop partnerships with local community colleges to enhance transfer rates. Students benefiting from this grant will be able to earn their single-subject teaching credentials while completing their bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“This recognition affirms our designation as a leading Hispanic-Serving Institution in our richly diverse region and state,” said Michael J. Beals, president of Vanguard University. “As we approach Vanguard’s centennial in 2020, our commitment to student access, success, and growth in STEM disciplines will continue to strengthen our position a nationally recognized leader in Christian higher education.”

Vanguard University was awarded the Title V grant based on its ability to address two priorities the Department of Education earmarked for the competitive program, which aims to increase the number of candidates qualified to teach in public elementary schools and secondary schools as well as the rate of students transferring from two-year to four-year institutions.

“By preparing K-12 teachers as well as aspiring college educators,” said Tara Sirvent, professor of biochemistry and director for academic writing and research, “Vanguard continues our core mission of pursuing knowledge, cultivating character, deepening faith, and equipping each student for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.”

Vanguard University plans to launch an Integrated STEM Teach Achievement (VISTA) program fall 2019, pending California Commission on Teaching Credentialing and Western Association of Schools & Colleges approvals. This program is designed to decrease the number of science teaching vacancies by training prospective educators in chemistry and biology to receive bachelor degrees and teaching credentials in four years. In conjunction, the university will introduce an Intensive Pedagogical and Research Experiences Program (iPREP) designed as a postdoctoral training program for recent doctoral recipients aspiring to enter STEM education beginning fall 2018.

Also as part of the Title V grant, Vanguard University will partner with seven Orange County community colleges to create a four-year integrated program of professional preparation. The university’s planned STEM Transfer with Excellence Program (V-STEPs) will open access to teacher preparation for community college students and support them through that transition.

Further, Vanguard University will use the grant to augment its STEM Bridge Program — an intensive academic enrichment and leadership program for incoming freshmen who major in STEM degrees —grow its endowment fund, and acquire STEM equipment and conduct related campus improvements.

The Title V grant not only represents the largest grant in university history but also follows just two years after Vanguard University earned another five-year, $2.57 million Department of Education grant for building an integrated student success initiative and faculty development in culturally sensitive education.