News Release

Published on Thursday, December 15, 2011

Western Technical College has been awarded a five-year Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant through the U.S. Department of Education totaling $2 million for strengthening student success and faculty development.

Title III’s Strengthening Institutions Program is designed to strengthen the capacity of eligible higher education institutions to deliver academic quality. Western’s approved grant activity, The Pathway to 2020, addresses key goals and challenges the college faces as it develops its Vision 2020 — the college goal of inclusive student culture, programming, readiness to offer cutting edge curriculum, and uniform, effective systems and processes.

According to Karen Gleason, Western’s Title III project director, “The objectives of the activity build a comprehensive system to increase the number of innovative and creative teaching methods used, and ultimately increase the success rate of students.”

Key initiatives within Western’s project include:
• Funding the design and opening of a fully-resourced Teaching and Learning Center, which will house aligned professional development activities and encourage new and veteran faculty to use innovative teaching and learning methods.
• Developing a Faculty Institute for new faculty to prepare them to be part of a collaborative space in the classroom.
• Creating a data system that better aligns student need with available support services, including innovative teaching methods.
• Growing endowment funds to create a Faculty Innovation Fund, to provide an easily accessible, permanent pool of money to fund release time for faculty who want to pursue special projects, lead a grant activity, or create a new classroom methodology.

“This funding allows Western to improve and expand faculty development to enhance the college as an adaptable, learner-centered institution,” said Western President Lee Rasch. “This is an essential piece of the college’s vision for the future, and we’re pleased that the Department of Education recognizes the potential impact this will have.”

For details on the Title III SIP grant, visit For more information about Western Technical College programs and services, call 608.785.9200 or visit the website at