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Project Compass Image“Project Compass is a Nellie Mae Foundation-funded 5-year initiative to improve retention and graduation rates for minority, low-income and first-generation college students in public, primarily undergraduate New England universities. Eastern Connecticut State University was one of six universities receiving funding for the 2007-2008 Planning Year, and one of four universities to be chosen for the subsequent four years of implementation, 2008-2012. Eastern, along with Lyndon State College (VT), Bridgewater State College (MA) and the Univ. of Maine-Presque Isle, work in a regional community partnership with the New England Research Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) to improve student success of the Project Compass student cohort. At Eastern, the Community of Practice combines staff from Student Affairs, Information Technology, Planning and Institutional Advancement and Academic Affairs with faculty and students, organized into working groups focusing on: improving early identification of students at risk (Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis), enhancing first-year advising by funding Student Development Specialists, and targeting tutoring services to high-risk subjects and courses, with special faculty development opportunities. In 2008, the Project Compass CoP work, under the direction of Dean Carmen Cid, led to additional funding for Eastern’s Student Success initiatives from the U.S. Dept. of Education Title III Student Support Services grant program, for 2009-2014.”