March 15, 2017

Building on the traditions and foundations provided in the previous 40 years of the High Potential Program founded in 1973 at Saint Mary’s College of California, the program is setting the standard for academic excellence and leadership development in the 21st century by operating from a strengths-based perspective that builds on the personal assets and strengths of HP students.  The program’s scope and capacity continues to expand moving beyond a first year introductory cohort model of a summer program and first year advising cohort.  Through additional funding from TRIO and continued funding from the institution, HP now provides comprehensive support services across all four years of a student’s time at Saint Mary’s, which includes supports focused on the core pillars of the program–scholarship, leadership, and service. These enhancements include four-year coaching, leadership development, peer mentoring, financial literacy, the Narrative Project, need-based scholarships ranging from $1000-3000, early course registration, and academic monitoring. Summer Bridge is now the Summer Academic Institute for Leaders and Scholars and peer mentors who participate in the year-long Peer Mentor Leadership Development Program now receive academic credit towards the core curriculum in addition to the personal and professional training and development received.

HP is setting the standard for academic excellence and leadership development at Saint Mary’s and beyond. It has influenced our overall HSI Title V and HSI STEM efforts, the creation of a a coaching program in Student Engagement and Academic Success for all Saint Mary’s students, and faculty and staffs’ perspective on first generation and low income students understanding the value, leadership and academic excellence HP students bring to campus. Since we began expanding the program in 2015, of the active participants at the end of Spring 2016, 95% graduated or were retained in Fall 2016. This is the highest historical rate, and $530,400 in institutional need-based scholarship has been provided to over 100 students. In addition, the program has received international and national recognition; Drs. Pascua Dea and Sosa have published an article and book chapter (in progress), and presented at over a dozen conferences on the HP program.