The Educational Talent Search, Project Stay and Upward Bound programs at Missouri Southern hosted the second annual TRIO Collaboration Day on Feb. 28.

Collaboration Day began last year as a way to convene area college and university TRIO personnel for idea sharing and the discussion of best practices in TRIO programs.

TRIO programs are federal outreach programs that provide services for students who are the first in their family to attend college, come from lower-income backgrounds or have a documented disability.  Upward Bound helps high-school students gain the skills necessary to persist through high school, enter post-secondary education and obtain a college degree.  Project Stay is a TRIO Student Support Services program that provides comprehensive resources to college students to increase bachelor degree attainment and assist with the transition to graduate studies or professional life.  Educational Talent Search serves students in sixth through 12th grade who demonstrate the potential to succeed at the postsecondary level and encourages secondary school completion and postsecondary enrollment through educational learning experiences and exposure to college campuses.

Fifty-five TRIO personnel representing 10 institutions participated in the training opportunity, an increase from 2013, when attendance was 45 personnel from seven institutions.  In addition to the MSSU TRIO programs, staff from Coffeyville Community College, Crowder College, Highland Community College, Independence Community College, Jefferson College, Neosho Community College, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Rogers State University and the University of Arkansas were in attendance.

Collaboration Day consists of roundtable sessions focused on topics that are relevant to working with students in TRIO programs.  Instead of formal presentations, each session is an open discussion facilitated by a TRIO staff member.  Topics this year included Using Technology in TRIO, Community Partnerships, Successful Workshop Design, and Recordkeeping and Documentation.  The day concluded with an open forum for the discussion of pressing topics not covered during other sessions.

“The Trio Collaboration Day was a great time to collaborate with other professionals,” said Robin Hicklin, director of MSSU’s Upward Bound program.  “We were able to discuss key issues confronting first-generation/low-income students and identify opportunities to improve their success in college.”

Mark Lloyd, dean of Student Engagement and Retention, addressed Collaboration Day attendees to kick of the day, and sat in on several sessions.

“The level of support that we have for each other in TRIO programs is significant,” said Lloyd. “The opportunity for the TRIO programs to come together is beneficial in helping to develop efficient and effective programing ideas that will benefit the students we serve. This support is what helps TRIO programs to continually improve their ability to help students achieve a college degree.”

MSSU TRIO programs look forward to hosting another Collaboration Day event in 2015.