Board of Regents Awards $740,000 Grant to Support Developmental Reading and Writing

May 28, 2020

The Louisiana Board of Regents has awarded a $740,000 grant to the Delgado Community College English and Reading departments. The funds will support reforming the college’s developmental reading and writing curriculum.

Delgado Communication Division Dean Emily Cosper will serve as the primary investigator and will oversee the five-year project, titled “Supporting Transformation: Developmental Reading & Writing Reform at Delgado Community College.” 

This is the first Board of Regents Comprehensive Departmental Enhancement grant the Communications Division has been awarded, and it is the largest grant the division has received.

Cosper said: “This grant will provide us with the resources to support a curriculum that is truly transformational and will change our students’ lives. Because of this Board of Regents funding, we at Delgado will become statewide leaders in developmental education reform. We are grateful for the support.”

The funding supports The Transformation Project, a multi-year initiative that the two departments began in 2018 to create a curriculum focused on academic literacy and designed to increase under-prepared students’ access to, persistence and progression in, and ultimate completion of college-level courses. This project culminated in the creation of a new class called Academic Literacy that has replaced the traditional skills-based curriculum of the developmental reading and writing courses at Delgado.

The project has five major components: using data to make informed decisions, building a strong faculty development program, improving and increasing the capacity of the Writing Center at the City Park Campus and the Learning Resource Center at the West Bank Campus, embedding writing coaches in the classroom, and creating a 21st century classroom that encourages collaboration.  

“Together, these components will build the infrastructure needed to support innovation in and out of the classroom for many years to come,” said Cosper.

Cosper said the grant will provide the support to truly transform teaching and learning in the two departments. Because the English and Reading departments are service departments, the impact will be far-reaching, she said.

In 2018-2019, 2,434 Delgado students took a developmental composition course, 6,019 students took a college composition course, and 1,974 students took a developmental reading course.

The project’s overall goal is to improve student persistence, progression, and success in the gateway course English Composition I and other college-level courses essential to college completion. Studies have found a strong correlation between student completion and passing gateway courses such as college-level English and college-level math within the first year of matriculation, Cosper said.

“Supporting Transformation” is based on research and best practices in developmental education and supports several goals in Delgado’s 2017-2021 Centennial Strategic Plan, “Creating a Culture of Transformation.”