OIT Supports Student Success and Academic Advising Through the iPASS Grant

July 31, 2017


(Left to right) Barbara Smith, Miranda Swain, and Jackie Loden present during the iPASS “Advisor Voice” webinar.


UTSA Executive Director of Academic Advising Barbara Smith, along with Director of Academic Advising Jackie Loden and Academic Advisor II Miranda Swain presented at the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) webinar held July 12, 2017. The webinar which is available nationally focused on the “Advisor Voice” and featured UTSA. Assistant Vice Provost for IT and iPASS Grant Principal Investigator Vanessa Hammler Kenon, Ed.D., along with Project Coordinator and iPASS Lead Rosalind K. Ong assisted in organizing the event. Network Technician Vince Rivera served as technology facilitator to ensure the event ran smoothly.


Click here to watch the webinar recording.


During the webinar the UTSA Academic Advising team representatives along with representatives from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College provided an advisor perspective on their advising redesign story.


In reference to the academic advising technology changes made in partnership with the iPASS grant and OIT during the presentation, Loden noted that further discussion is needed to address the misconception that changes in technology symbolize that the previous versions failed. Adapting to change is necessary as new technology enhancements and innovation become available. “It’s important that we need to be comfortable always going through changes and improving. And definitely recognizing that it’s not failure if we move or change technology,” said Loden.


Academic Advising has been transforming over the past years including the transition to new advising technology systems including the Education Advisory Board (EAB) Student Success Collaborative (SSC) Campus and DegreeWorks platforms. To increase technology adoption, Academic Advising collaborated with OIT Customer Relations and Communication team in fall of 2016 to relaunch DegreeWorks through a marketing campaign after platform issues were address. DegreeWorks usage jumped from approximately 14% in spring of 2016 to 80% in spring of 2017. Additional student success tools will be introduced in the next academic year including mobile apps and a redesigned Academic Advising website.


The iPASS webinar is a part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) iPASS Grant and managed in partnership with EDUCASUE and Achieving the Dream. UTSA is one of 26 institutions nationwide to receive this grant to support student success. The UTSA iPASS project is a collaboration between the UTSA Provost Office, Academic Advising, and OIT. It focuses on transforming three key areas to help students complete their degrees:

  • Education planning
  • Counseling and coaching
  • Risk targeting and intervention


UTSA's iPASS Vision

The goal of the iPASS project is to foster student success at UTSA to increase average retention and graduation rates. Students, advisors, faculty, and support staff will partner in a collaborative effort. iPASS will serve a key role in advancing student success and supporting students to reach their educational goals in complement with the THECB 60x30 TX, the UT System Student Success goals, the UTSA Blueprint, the CLASS initiative, and the OIT mission.


UTSA's iPASS Mission

The iPASS project is dedicated to enhancing student success at UTSA by engaging a campus-wide team to collaboratively establish a system that helps empower students and support staff, enhancing student interaction from orientation to graduation. Through communication, training, evaluation, and refinement, iPASS will create an adoption environment that fosters welcoming attitudes toward changes. As a grant-funded initiative, the iPASS project strives to improve and determine the best practices and solutions for the benefit of students. As an evergreen project, iPASS will continually evaluate implementations to determine opportunities for increased impact, change pathways to minimize shortcomings, and share data to help improve student graduation and retention rates nationwide.


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