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The U.S. Department of Education has awarded John Carroll University a “First in the World” (FITW) program grant, totaling nearly $1.3 million. John Carroll is the only university in Ohio to receive the funding. “First in the World” grants are designed to develop innovative strategies with the goal of improving academic outcomes and retention rates for at-risk students at colleges and universities. “This grant presents John Carroll with the opportunity to meet the challenges of access and completion when it comes to earning a college degree, which is essential for employment in emerging industries,” says Terry L. Mills, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and sociology professor at John Carroll University. Mills applied for the FITW grant; John Carroll is one of 17 recipients out of 300 applicants nationwide. John Carroll’s project, “Linked Learning and Early Warning,” directed by Dr. Mills, integrates theories of student development and thriving into a program of block schedules and linked courses. Dr. Mills explains that it is “designed to bolster shared knowledge, shared learning, and shared responsibility” among at-risk freshmen. According to the Department of Education, FITW grants are intended to test new concepts that drive innovation and keep higher education within reach for all Americans.