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The University College at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) provides the foundational academic experience for students to explore what the university has to offer. All first-year-in-college-students participate in University College’s First-Year Experience Program (FYE), a program that helps new college students make connections academically and socially on campus. In UTSA's FYE Program students will (1) complete Academic Inquiry and Scholarship (AIS 1203), a course designed to introduce students to the general research and inquiry practices within three broad academic cultures as well as develop academic skills necessary to succeed beyond the first year in college; (2) participate in the University Peer Mentorship Experience (UPM 1000), an experience in which first-year-in-college students connect with a peer mentor to explore UTSA's academic and social resources, gain assistance in exploring major and career options, and learn college success strategies. The FYE program also offers students the opportunity to enroll in linked courses.

FYE Program Goals

“Freshmen succeed when they make progress toward fulfilling the following educational and personal goals: (1) developing academic and intellectual competence; (2) establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships; (3) developing an identity; (4) deciding on a career and life-style; (5) maintaining personal health and wellness; and (6) developing an integrated philosophy of life.” --Upcraft and Gardner, 1989.

Source: Upcraft, M.L., & Gardner, J.N. (1989). A comprehensive approach to enhancing freshman success. In M.L. Upcraft, J.N. Gardner, & Associates (Eds.), The freshman year experience (pp. 1-12). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Academic Inquiry and Scholarship (AIS) 1203:

  • Develop an understanding of the nature of inquiry
  • Enhance critical thinking skills
  • Develop essential academic skills that translate to all academic areas of study
  • Explore basic research skills in the humanities/arts, social sciences, and natural sciences
  • Provide students with information and skills to make an informed decision regarding their academic major
  • Increase first-year-in-college-students’ sense of connection to other peers

University Peer Mentorship Experience (UPM) 1000:

  • Increase first-year-in-college-students’ sense of connection to other peers
  • Provide opportunities for students to examine major and career options
  • Provide opportunities for students to explore UTSA's social and academic services
  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in service learning and civic engagement activities
  • Provide opportunities for students to engage in personal, health, and financial empowerment activities
  • Enhance students’ knowledge and use of effective college survival skills

Increased student success requires sustained effort from across the University; thus the University must make intentional efforts to establish, develop, and nurture a “culture of student connection” within the institution. Students who feel connected to their surroundings through relationships with classmates, faculty, and staff are more likely to choose to persist in their goal of obtaining a degree. (Astin, 1984; Rendon, 1994)

Source: Astin, A.W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 297-30
              Rendon, L. (1994). Validating culturally diverse students: Toward a new model of learning and student development. Innovative Higher Education, 19(1), 33-51.