BURBANK, Calif., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Woodbury University will receive $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education over the next five years to expand its Master of Architecture program and increase student opportunities including those for Hispanic students to succeed at the graduate level. In addition, a $600,000 grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University will educate students and stakeholders about the complexities of problems surrounding water in the West and seek solutions to this challenge in low-income communities.
The $2.8 million Promoting Post-baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) grant will provide state-of-the-art technological capacities for Woodbury's School of Architecture, add three-year and one-year options to the current Master of Architecture program, and provide financial aid for deserving students. Woodbury was awarded the grant based on the School of Architecture's exemplary record of educating Hispanic and low-income students and the promise that enhancements to existing graduate programs would provide additional opportunities for those same students to receive high-quality, postsecondary degrees. The grant is part of the Title V program that aims to enhance the academic offerings, program quality and stability of institutions educating a significant percentage of Hispanic students. This is the first year that Title V has added support of post-baccalaureate programs.
Woodbury's School of Architecture provides a global academic experience for its students, more than 40 percent of whom are Hispanic. By integrating international study programs in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, one of the program's main focuses is embracing the cultural and academic diversity of its students. First-year retention rates for Latinos in the undergraduate program surpass the university average by almost 5 percent, and 90 percent of Latino students graduate within five years. The first students in the new Master of Architecture program began their studies this past August.
"Woodbury is pleased to be recognized by the Department of Education for our commitment to helping Hispanic students achieve their academic dreams," says Kenneth R. Nielsen, Ed.D., president, Woodbury University. "Through this grant, the pathway to a promising future for these students will be made just a little easier. Hispanic students will have significantly increased opportunities to earn master's degrees and build stronger communities for the future."
Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) advocated for the Department of Education grant.
"I remain dedicated to expanding access to an affordable college education as it is one of the surest ways we can build a stronger, more competitive American economy for years to come. That is why I am pleased that Woodbury University, which continues to provide quality educational opportunities for our community, received these federal funds," says Rep. Sherman.
The second grant--from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)--will support work by the Arid Lands Institute (ALI) during the next three years. Recognizing water scarcity as the defining challenge facing the West, Woodbury in 2008 initiated ALI, the only design-based institute of its kind in the region.
Working during the school year with the City of Burbank, and in the summer term with Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Woodbury's students and faculty will be providing no-cost planning and design assistance to low-income communities working to devise sustainable water and energy strategies in the face of climate change. The community partners have pledged over $100,000 in donated technical assistance from planners, engineers, and water commissioners.
ALI will work closely with Woodbury's School of Architecture and Institute for Transdisciplinary Studies to lead a faculty and student effort to implement a public education program on design solutions for water and energy conservation; generate innovative designs for rural and urban communities throughout the West; and produce web-based and print publications that promote new approaches to water and energy management. These programs will educate students and stakeholders about the complexities of the problems surrounding water in the West, and foster creative approaches to solving those urgent, yet heavily nuanced, problems.
"This is an astounding achievement for a young organization and is owing to the vision of ALI co-directors and Woodbury architecture instructors Hadley and Peter Arnold and the support of many in the community, both on and off campus," says Norman Millar, dean, School of Architecture, Woodbury University. "It is important work that will be done, and we are proud to be part of it and proud that HUD has recognized its importance."
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, along with an MBA program, Master of Architecture, Master of Architecture in Real Estate Development, and Master of Organizational Leadership. A San Diego campus offers bachelor of architecture and Master of Architecture in Real Estate Development degrees.
SOURCE Woodbury University