Brent ColwellBrent Colwell, a music professor with a passion for helping students, has been selected to receive the Faculty Development Leave Grant for 2019-2020. Colwell will use the time to spearhead a new student wellness initiative at the college.

In 2018, faculty and staff members at Temple College launched a new initiative to help students with non-academic needs that may be keeping them from meeting their educational goals. The program was inspired by a similar program at Amarillo College.

In summer 2018, Colwell was one of four faculty members from Temple College who went to Amarillo College to learn more about that school’s initiative. By helping students with non-academic issues such as childcare, food, housing, mental healthcare and transportation, Amarillo College was able to increase student completion rates by more than 30 percent.

Temple College launched its program in November 2018 with a visit from Amarillo College President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart.

Colwell said he applied for the Faculty Development Leave Grant so he could serve as a “driving and unifying force” for the new initiative. This will include identifying grants to fund new projects, developing partnerships with organizations in the community, and improving training and awareness of how social needs affect students.

Most of all, he said, he plans to work on creating a campuswide culture of meeting students’ needs.

“I am looking forward to working on this,” Colwell said. “This initiative is not only important for the Temple College community, but for the community as a whole. Increasing the number of community members with a degree or certificate should significantly impact our local economy.”

Colwell joined the Temple College faculty in 2007 after serving as Director of Bands at Temple High School. In 2016, he was named Director of the Division of Fine Arts and also the recipient of the college’s Barnhart Teacher of the Year Award.

Anyone interested in helping with the new initiative should contact Colwell at brent.colwell@templejc.edu.