Theresa Brewer, left, at podium, visits a smart classroom funded by a Title III grant. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Milton Samuels)
It takes many different elements working in unison to help Roxbury Community College fulfill one of the main goals of its Mission Statement: “We believe that all students, given the appropriate resources, have the ability to reach their full potential.”
Since 2007, when she was hired as RCC’s Director of Grants Development, Theresa Brewer has supported the college’s mission by bringing in grants that have proven critical to its academic programs.
“My primary responsibility is to assist the college in securing grants that support the programs and services for students,” Brewer explained.
It is a collaborative effort involving various college departments. “That means working with faculty and staff who operate those programs,” she said.
Brewer works with “anyone at the college who wants to apply for a grant.” It is part of Brewer’s responsibility to identify grants that are appropriate for a particular program and also “aligns with the college’s mission statement. We are always looking for funding opportunities that support programs and the students,” she said.
Once a grant comes to the college, it doesn’t end there for Brewer. “We also assist in the management of those grants,” Brewer said, “to ensure that the college is meeting compliance requirements.”
Brewer’s work has resulted in an impressive array of grants that have combined to strengthen RCC’s programs and enhance the college’s overall teaching and learning environment.
A sampling of significant programs includes:
• Title III — Strengthening Institution Grant: This federal grant of nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Education funded the upgrade of a number of RCC classrooms into technologically-equipped “smart classrooms.” The grant also funds comprehensive professional development. It strengthens RCC through upgraded classrooms, faculty training, and improved student performance and outcomes. The grant is in its third year.
• Massachusetts Community College and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda: The U.S. Department of Labor awarded this federal grant of $785,000 to RCC as a part of a larger grant given to the Statewide Community Colleges Consortium. The grant helps community colleges build capacity to deliver accelerated education and training in Healthcare and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.
• Talent Search, Project GPS — Graduate, Perform, Succeed: This five-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education is for a total of $1,150,000. The grant funds academic, career, and financial literacy workshops and services to 500 Boston Public middle and high school students.
A number of other grants have arrived at RCC, including state grants from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. One of the state grants is the Adult Basic Education Transition to Community College grant, which provides credit courses to adults transitioning to college. The Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment grant provides college courses and support services to students with disabilities.
Brewer said that there is a common purpose that connects the many grants that RCC attracts. She said that all of the grants that come to RCC are to support and improve student success. “We have seen some measureable improvement in student outcomes,” she said.
Prior to coming to RCC, Brewer, who has a Master’s Degree in City Planning from MIT, worked for the state in the Department of Community Development. Her chief responsibility was managing community services block grant programs.
At RCC, Brewer finds great satisfaction in finding ways to help improve the education of students. “There is no student who doesn’t deserve a quality education,” she stated.
Yvonne Anthony recently joined the staff as a grant writer to assist Brewer in applying for increasingly competitive grants.