(July 5, 2017) -- The Coordinated and Linked Approaches to Student Success Initiative (CLASS), begun by the UTSA Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs last fall, recently earned significant support from the University of Texas System. Two CLASS programs — Math Emporium Model and Project LEAD — were awarded just over $3.6 million from UT System through a request for proposals for its Quantum Leap on Student Success, a key part of the Quantum Leaps to provide Texans with the very best in higher education, research and health care.
“We are so grateful to UT System for its support of CLASS and our vision to enhance student success at UTSA, said C. Mauli Agrawal, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This funding provides a momentous boost to these initiatives to better serve our undergraduates, prepare them for academic success and dramatically enhance graduation rates.”
UTSA is one of five UT System institutions to earn funding through the competitive selection process. UT System received 14 proposals with funding requests totaling $21 million. Each proposal was reviewed by higher education experts external to the UT System and Texas, as well as by UT System leaders.
“The two UTSA proposals were outstanding and exciting to all the external and internal reviewers,” said Rebecca Karoff, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for UT System. “The Student Success Quantum Leap was intentionally designed to allow for innovation and risk-taking in order to make improvement on retention and graduation. With these two exemplary projects, UTSA is poised to take a prominent role in accomplishing that mission. And the university is doing this in a way that focuses on meeting their students where they are, and helping them understand that they belong — and can succeed — in college.”
The Math Emporium Model proposal was awarded its full funding request of $2,972,077. The funding will allow UTSA to scale a pilot emporium model program to include by 2019-2020 all sections of three core courses for pre-STEM and pre-Business students: MAT 1073 (Algebra for Science and Engineering Majors), MAT 1093 (Precalculus), and MAT 1033 (Algebra with Calculus for Business Majors).
In emporium model courses, students attend only a limited number of lectures; remaining instruction takes place in an engaged-learning computer lab environment where they can learn at their own pace or in small groups, with support from instructors and peer tutors.
In summer 2016, UTSA piloted an emporium math model for one section of MAT 1073 with successful results: 67 percent of students in the emporium model course earned either an A or B, compared to 14 percent in a non-emporium model course. The pilot was expanded to four sections of MAT 1073 in fall 2016 and again showed positive results: 46 percent of students in the emporium model classes earned an A or B, compared to 33 percent for the non-emporium model classes.
“Math readiness frequently poses a challenge to college students,” said Rhonda Gonzales, associate vice provost for strategic initiatives. “Particularly for UTSA students enrolled in the Colleges of Sciences, Engineering and Business, we know from our own institutional research that earning an A or B in their first college math course is critical in increasing their success in subsequent math courses and in persisting in their chosen major.”
“The Math Emporium Model represents the first significant pedagogical shift in how core curriculum math is taught at UTSA,” said Sandy Norman, chair of the Department of Mathematics. “Based on the results of our own pilots, as well as the success of other schools who have implemented emporium models, we are very excited to expand this program for the benefit of all our students who choose STEM and business-related majors.”
The goal is for the Math Emporium program to reach full capacity by 2019-2020, and potentially serve as many as 5,600 students per year.
The $2.97 million Quantum Leap funding for the program will be used primarily to fund salaries for full-time staff, including two course coordinators, three program managers, a software systems specialist and a lab administrative associate, as well as a number of part-time student tutors and lab assistants. UTSA will provide in-kind support for math lab facilities and computers, and is currently seeking funding to construct a 7,500-square-foot dedicated Emporium Math Lab.
The second UTSA proposal, Project LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Academics and Dedication), was fully funded at $635,909. An onboarding and bridging program, Project LEAD aims to increase student success and retention by creating targeted programming for academically at-risk students at early stages of their academic career. LEAD I will target incoming freshmen admitted to UTSA by holistic review, while students on academic probation or warning at the conclusion of their first year will be the focus of LEAD II.
LEAD I participants will take part in a summer academy, in which they will enroll in two core classes together and participate in engagement programming and peer mentoring. Additionally, they will receive proactive academic advising and financial aid advising.
LEAD II participants will also take part in a summer academy that includes one three-hour course identified to help improve their GPA and a student success seminar. LEAD II participants will also benefit from continued peer mentoring, proactive academic advising and financial advising, and engagement programming.
A LEAD Summer Academy is being piloted at UTSA this summer with a small cohort of incoming first-year students who have registered to take classes in the second five-week summer session, July 7–August 12. LEAD II programming will launch in summer 2018. Both programs aim to serve approximately 250 students in 2018 and scale up to a full capacity of 400 students by 2019.
“LEAD will help new Roadrunners get off to a strong start and provide extra support to those students who need it after their first year,” said Tammy Wyatt, associate vice provost for student success. “A student’s early academic performance can impact their financial aid availability and admission into selective degree programs, not to mention their overall sense of belonging in college. Universities that have implemented onboarding and bridging programs similar to LEAD have shown positive impact on participants’ GPAs, as well as retention and graduation rates.”
Funding for Project LEAD will be used primarily for salaries, including two full-time staff and part-time student peer leaders.
The UT System allocated $10 million as part of the Student Success Quantum Leap RFP, of which $8.2 million is being used to fund selected projects system-wide. In addition to these projects, UT System designated nearly $1.7 million to establish a Graduation Help Desk at UTSA and other system institutions. UTSA will receive approximately $215,000 to support staff hiring and infrastructure development to create the Graduation Help Desk, a one-stop resource for students who need assistance getting classes required to graduate on time or resolving other roadblocks to timely graduation.
The CLASS Initiative was created by Agrawal in fall 2016 to develop strategies in six areas related to student success: first-year experience programming; academic advising services; focused academic support programs; financial assistance offerings; leadership and professional development; and onboarding practices. The goals of CLASS are to increase first-year retention of Roadrunner students from 76 percent to 85 percent in five years, and to improve graduation rates from 38 percent to 60 percent, within 10 years.
Orientation marks a major step toward becoming a Roadrunner. It is a unique experience designed to welcome freshmen and transfers to UTSA and ensure a successful transition into college. They will learn about UTSA, prepare for their first semester and have fun meeting other students. There is also a special Family Orientation program too.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Come out and meet Dr. Ray Bateman, ARL South Cyber on-site Lead, and Kristin Schweitzer who form the nucleus of ARL South Cyber on our campus. They will give a brief overview of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and how it fits within the Army’s hierarchy. Morning session is 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Afternoon session is 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.John Peace Library (JPL 4.04.12C), Main Campus
Join the UTSA Master of Social Work Advanced Social Work Methods Policy Practice Advocacy Class for a panel discussion on child care policies and its effect on higher education. Event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 1.322), Downtown Campus
UTSA Associate Dean/Associate Professor Francine Romero will sit down with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg for a wide-ranging conversation about the Mayor's vision for the City's future. Seating is at capacity but the San Antonio Express-News will stream it live.Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
The sympoisum will focus on the interface between aging and neurodegenerative diseases, will educate the wider research community about advancements in this fast-paced field and stimulate collaborative research in this area. Register online for this free event.H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), Main Campus
The 23rd International Conference on Historical Linguistics is offering four special panels open and free to the San Antonio public July 31-Aug. 3 to mark the tricentennial next year. The event is co-sponsored by UTSA Research.Hotel Contessa, 306 W. Market St., San Antonio
The UTSA community welcomes students to their on-campus home! Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall are home for 2,300 students during the academic year, and Move-In event kicks off the start of Roadrunner Days.Laurel Village, Chaparral Village, Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
The College of Engineering hosts this seminar featuring Jeff Adams, Southwest Zone Quality Manager, Siemens Building Technologies Division. The event is free and open to the public.Engineering Building (EB 3.04.30), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas,the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
© 2017 The University of Texas at San Antonio | One UTSA Circle San Antonio, TX 78249 | Information 210-458-4011