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STLCC Faculty Members Selected for Gates-Funded Research Project

December 09, 2009

Two St. Louis Community College faculty members have been chosen to participate in the Global Skills for College Completion (GSCC) project.

Lori Hirst, assistant professor in English at STLCC-Forest Park, and Richard Pescarino, associate professor in mathematics at STLCC-Florissant Valley, are two of only 26 community college faculty selected to participate in the GSCC project, which is designed to create new pedagogical standards for increasing pass rates in basic skills courses at community colleges. They were selected based on the high completion rate for their developmental courses in English and math, respectively.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GSCC is sponsored by the League for Innovation in the Community College, Knowledge in the Public Interest and LaGuardia Community College.

According to GSCC data, between 60 and 80 percent of all community college students nationally require developmental education courses. However, less than 60 percent of low-income young adults pass these classes. By bringing together the “best minds” in higher education, the project hopes to boost the national pass rate from basic skills classes to 80 percent.

Hirst and Pescarino each will participate in a four-semester online community of practice that will focus on innovative basic skills pedagogies that will dramatically improve student success.

Hirst joined the Forest Park staff in 1998 as a tutor in the campus writing center, and in 2007 became a full-time faculty member in the English department. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in English and political science from Washington University.

Pescarino joined the Florissant Valley staff in 1996 as a Supplemental Instruction leader in the academic support center. After three semesters, he began teaching part time in the Mathematics department, and in 2001 he joined the full-time faculty.  He has a master’s degree in mathematics from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Framingham State College in Massachusetts.