Salem State awarded additional funding through Performance Incentive Fund grant

At a press conference yesterday in Framingham, Governor Deval Patrick announced Salem State University as one of the 18 Massachusetts state universities selected to receive additional state funding this year. The subsidy, which comes out of the Performance Incentive Fund, will support activities that improve the overall success of the chosen institutions’ undergraduate populations, and will supplement their base budgets. Salem State’s award, in the amount of $218,149, is second only to that awarded Worcester State University.

The Performance Incentive Fund is a cornerstone of Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland’s Vision Project, the state’s master plan to establish Massachusetts public higher education as a national leader in educating students who are well prepared for the work force of the future.

One of the initiatives outlined in Salem State’s proposal is the development of campus living-learning communities, something that is being implemented this semester.  At present, two “neighborhood communities,” one each for students majoring in education and psychology, have been established in Marsh Hall on the university’s Central Campus. Each will have its own lounge and study room, along with faculty mentors from each academic department who will participate in social and academic programs.  A student mentor will live on each floor.

Research on the living-learning community concept has shown improvement in students’ overall academic performance, as well as enhanced social and community-based experiences.  Salem State will monitor and track the progress of these participants throughout their studies at the university.

“This funding is affirmation that Salem State’s overarching goals to advance the quality of our programming and ensure the success of all our students while meeting regional work force needs are in alignment with the educational aspirations of the Commonwealth,” noted Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg, provost and academic vice president. 

Institutions selected to receive monies from the Performance Incentive Fund are expected to enact programming that follows five clearly defined initiatives, including student development counseling aimed at first-generation and low-income students and the establishment of living-learning communities focused on specific student cohorts that need to improve their retention rates. Salem State’s successful proposal includes a plan to address student success vis à vis the number of students graduating from the institution. It also eliminates disparities for students of color, those from low-income families and those who are the first in their families to attend college. Salem State is committed to provide continuous funding for these initiatives at the end of the grant period.