Our Undergraduate Student Success Work

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The Office of Academic Affairs serves, supports and collaborates with UT institutions in helping more students complete their degrees in a timely manner and accomplish their educational and career goals so they can lead engaged, productive and healthy lives.

UT System undergraduates bring to our institutions a rich tapestry of assets and experiences: they come from diverse backgrounds; 57% are underrepresented minorities; many of them have prior work experience; and many are bi-lingual in Spanish.

At the same time, many of our students face challenges related to coming from low-income backgrounds: approximately 40% across the system are Pell eligible, and that number is as high as 61.8% at one UT institution. Many of our undergraduate students are transfers, and in fact only 65% of the entering 2017 cohort were first-time in college. Visit the UT System Dashboard for additional information on the students who attend our institutions.

In collaboration with campuses, we seek to become more data-informed, student-ready, intentional, and holistic in our approach to student success, with a focus on ensuring equitable access, participation and excellence for all students in high-quality programs and experiences, in the classroom and beyond.

 

Pillar Commitments

 

The UT System organizes its undergraduate student success work around three aspirational pillars:

  • FINANCES. The UT System is committed to making sure that no student drops out of college because of financial hardship.

  • ADVISING. All UT students will receive the advising they need to help them discover clear pathways to degree completion and beyond.

  • BELONGING. All UT students should feel like they belong in college. No student should fail to graduate because of a lack of engagement or a sense of not belonging

 

How are UT institutions meeting these commitments?

  • Finances
    • All academic universities are working to ensure that students' basic needs are met, through on-campus food, clothing and household items pantries.
    • Many UT institutions have identified or are in the process of identifying emergency aid programs and assembling other resources to address housing insecurity.
    • Some UT institutions are working with the Office of Strategic Initiatives to develop predictive analytic tools to distribute financial aid dollars more effectively to students in need.
  • Advising
    • All academic universities have peer tutoring and/or peer mentoring programseffective for the students in need of extra academic support, high-impact programs for the student peer tutors and mentor.
    • With funding from UT System, every academic university has a graduation help desk in placeone-stop shops (virtual and/or brick-and-mortar) for students who encounter barriers in the path to timely graduation and have nowhere else to turn.
    • UT institutions are promoting "15-to-Finish" and "Take 30" campaigns, including intentionally ramped-up advising, to help guide students take full-credit course loads toward timely completion of their degrees.
  • Belonging
    • All eight academic universities offer a variety of innovative and award-winning curricular programs for first-year students, including cohort-based learning communities, and freshmen signature courses and seminars.
    • UT institutions provide many co-curricular programs for students, including those addressing the needs of first-generation and low-income students, veterans, and transfer students.
    • High-impact practicesHIPSabound across the UT System, providing students opportunities to belong and engage more deeply in their learning through internships, service learning, undergraduate research, domestic and international study abroad, and others.

 

How is the UT System supporting institutions in meeting these commitments?

  • Student Success Guiding Coalition A system-convened collective of student success leaders and advocates working to generate, maintain and accelerate momentum in student success efforts and initiatives. MORE
  • Affinity Groups Between February and December 2017, affinity groups were convened to focus and deliver on key outcomes of the UT System's initiative to make significant progress in student success. Affinity groups of Finances, Advising and Belonging, and the Assessment of Student Learning affinity group, met to MORE
  • Grants to support institutional projects In February 2017, the University of Texas System Board of Regents approved $10 million to be awarded to University of Texas academic universities in support of former Chancellor McRaven's Student Success Quantum Leap. Through a competitive process, five University of Texas institutions were awarded funding for six innovative, campus-based projects designed to enhance student success. All eight academic universities received funding for Graduation Help Desks. MORE
  • Professional Development The UT System provides professional development opportunities to cohorts of faculty and academic and student affairs staff, to enhance institution-wide engagement with, and greater responsibility for student success. MORE
  • Predictive Analytics Mining historical and current student and institutional data, the UT System Office of Strategic Initiatives works with UT institutions to develop a variety of predictive analytic tools, designed to help greater numbers of students from across demographic groups to enroll, persist, and complete their educations, and with a focus on increasing financial well-being and academic and social belonging.

 

UT Institution Initiatives

 

More information is available about institution-specific initiatives aimed at undergraduate student success: