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Kennesaw State Receives Contribution from AT&T to Boost Student Success

July 22, 2013

KSU FoundationThe Kennesaw State University Foundation has received a $40,000 contribution from AT&T that will help undergraduates pass difficult-to-master math courses with the aid of peer learning assistants and for the development of a mobile application connecting them to study networks.

The AT&T contribution will help the College of Science and Mathematics’ Kennesaw Community Learning for Undergraduate Engagement (K-CLUE) project, which is designed to boost retention, progression and graduation rates. Through the K-CLUE project, the College will hire students as learning assistants to help peers in lower division pre-calculus and calculus courses — gateways to all the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

These courses are considered predictors of student success in the overall curriculum and have among the highest withdrawal rates at the University. Ultimately, the College would like to use learning assistants in sections of other gateway courses, including general chemistry, general biology and general physics.

“We want to thank AT&T for partnering with us in this initiative,” said Mark Anderson, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “The College is committed to advancing student success and engagement in the STEM disciplines. We also want to expose students to careers as STEM educators. AT&T’s contribution will help us achieve these goals.”

Initially, the new project will provide students in the targeted courses access to learning assistants, which Anderson said has been shown to increase student success rates. He cited a recent Kennesaw State study that found a 15 percent increase in the pass rates of sections of a general chemistry course that used learning assistants.

Anderson underscored the University’s emphasis on community and engagement, which play a role in learning. “What we are doing is creating a class community, a university community and extending that to the broader Cobb County, metro Atlanta and Georgia community. It’s important to emphasize to students that they have a responsibility not only for their own learning, but for each other’s learning,” he said. “It’s appropriate that AT&T is sponsoring this because AT&T is known for innovation as well as community and outreach.”

AT&TBIGThe AT&T contribution will also enable the development of a mobile application, dubbed KSU Study Buddy, which will permit students to use social media to create study networks, reinforcing the importance of community to the learning process.

Additionally, the College will be able to use peer mentors for outreach activities with area high schools to increase interest in learning mathematics. The contribution will also permit the College to establish a more robust advising strategy using a network of trained peer advisors to help undergraduates successfully navigate the STEM curriculum.

AT&T has a historical philanthropic focus on supporting education and helping students succeed in school, the workforce and in life, said Don Barbour, regional director for AT&T Georgia.

“Investing in our communities is part of AT&T’s core values,” Barbour said. “I want to thank Kennesaw State University’s Daniel S. Papp, College of Science and Mathematics Dean Mark Anderson, Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee and other leaders in Cobb County and across Georgia who have worked hard to create a welcoming economic environment that helps companies like AT&T invest in our state, create jobs and contribute to worthy endeavors like this.”

In 2008, AT&T launched its Aspire program to help confront the high school dropout crisis and ensure that students graduate prepared for the challenges of higher education and the workforce. Through Aspire, the company has contributed more than $5 million in Georgia.

“Helping more students succeed in the high-demand STEM disciplines is very important for our county and all of Georgia,” said Tim Lee, chairman of the Cobb County Commission. “Cobb County is home to a diverse range of industries including information technology, software development, aeronautics and biosciences and there are great jobs and opportunities right here for students with the right skills.”


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