3.1 Action Item: Strengthen and expand our undergraduate recruitment and admissions efforts, and include financial aid package as necessary.
Status: In Progress
- The Office of Admissions has strategically expanded its base of prospective students to develop a stronger pipeline from our underrepresented populations. It has significantly increased electronic and peer-to-peer communications, organized new campus visit bus trips for 200 targeted recruits and a parent, and initiated several new regional events that introduce African American and Latinx students to The University. We have eliminated the separate freshman scholarship application to ease access to financial resources, and partnered with RaiseMe to build a stronger relationship with Title 1 schools. Finally, UT Austin’s new Texas Advance Commitment guarantees some gift aid for all students with need and family incomes up to $100,000.
- The Office of Admissions has increased efforts to strategically secure timely contact information for our underrepresented prospects. These leads enable earlier, direct outreach, which is particularly beneficial for this population of students.
- Recruitment efforts within the Office of Admissions have been substantiated with the assistance of two student groups: Texas Student Recruiters and University Leadership Network Fellows. With the assistance of current students and recent graduates, our underrepresented admits receive guidance and mentorship to assist in the transition to UT.
- The Office of Admissions has developed print and digital communications to provide information that is tailored to underrepresented populations. These communications are designed to create a welcoming an inviting enrollment experience, and ensure that prospective students and families have access to information about underrepresented student groups and campus resources.
- The Office of Admissions created multiple opportunities for underrepresented admits to connect with successful underrepresented alumni, thereby providing a unique community building opportunities. In addition, spring recruitment events were added to connect underrepresented alumni and students of color to welcome our new students to the Longhorn community and facilitate a stronger connection to campus among students and their families.
- The Office of Enrollment Management and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement have a partnership related to recruiting students from underserved backgrounds whereby the Interim Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement and staff from the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, along with Office of Admissions staff members visit underserved schools around the state, often holding evening or weekend sessions so that families of students may attend
3.2 Action Item: Connect all undergraduate students who would benefit with academic success programs.
Status: On Target
- Every year we work with the SSI (Student Success Initiatives) and UTSP (UT Success Programs) to make sure that all students who would benefit from an academic success program is invited to one. Most colleges and schools now have their own programs. LCAE works with students in Fine Arts, Nursing and Social Work. There are currently four success programs in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE): Gateway Scholars (GWS), Longhorn Link Program (LLP), McNair Scholars Program, and Monarch Student Program. GWS and LLP, are first year students success programs and for the past 5 years the students in these programs have had a first year GPA of 3.1, or better, and a 95% retention rate. We also refer students to other programs if needed.
- The University has made significant progress ensuring all students receive the academic support they need to be successful. Identifying the students who are most at risk of struggling with persistence is a crucial step in increasing student success. Predictive analytics calculate the likelihood of graduation in four years for every admitted first-year student based on more than a decade of historical academic and demographic student data. Prior to their arrival at orientation, each student is connected to the appropriate academic learning community (i.e. success program) that also provides a social community and sense of belonging when they arrive on their first day on campus. The Student Program Database (SPD) provides an online tool for the colleges and schools to manage their rosters of students assigned to success programs and identifies unassigned students so that they can be invited to participate in a program.
- As part of the University’s actions to improve graduation rates for all students, success programs were expanded or new ones were created starting in 2013. The success programs serve approximately 25 percent of the incoming freshman class. The combined rosters totaled about 2,000 students in 2017, roughly twice as many students as they did in 2012. Programs now include Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) Scholars in the College of Natural Sciences, Discovery Scholars in the School of Undergraduate Studies, Foundation Scholars in the College of Liberal Arts, McCombs Success Scholars in the McCombs School of Business, and Ramshorn Scholars in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Two new success programs in the College of Education and Moody College of Communication will start in fall 2018. Students in other colleges are served by Gateway Scholars, a success program managed in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
- Students in STEM majors receive supplemental instruction and tutoring in their college- based programs in the College of Natural Sciences and the Cockrell School of Engineering. The Gateway Scholars program also provides STEM tutoring focused on students in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence and have now opened it to other students on a space-available basis.
- A new STEM Learning Area was created in the Perry–Castañeda Library to provide a central location for STEM tutoring and support for all students.
3.3 Action Item: Review holistic admissions process to achieve a level of enrollment whereby students from underrepresented groups no longer feel isolated.
Status: On Target
- Holistic review was enhanced this year with the inclusion of the Environmental Context Dashboard, providing important information to better evaluate performance within the context of students’ opportunities.
- Prior to their arrival at orientation, students representing approximately 25% of the incoming class are connected to the appropriate academic learning community (i.e. success program) that also provides a social community and sense of belonging when they arrive on their first day on campus. Programs managed centrally and within Colleges and Schools support students’ persistence and academic success.
- The Office of Admissions is engaged in a review of the admissions holistic review process and recruitment practices and programs. Admissions will continue to work closely with university attorneys and campus partners as this work progresses.
3.4 Action Item: Identify and remove barriers for high-demand majors and the University’s honors programs.
Status: In Progress
- The Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence works with top-level students from many of the high-demand majors at UT to help mitigate those challenges through a support structure that assists those students in getting through. This includes tutoring as well as supplemental instruction to several high-level courses.
- The James W. Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling provides individualized academic advising and career counseling to inform all students (not just UGS students) about the process and help them understand how to internally transfer into majors at UT. In addition, for students specifically in the School of Undergraduate Studies who are undeclared, the Vick Center has negotiated agreements with two colleges. Moody College of Communication has agreed to accept a certain number of UGS students each semester into the high demand Radio, Television & Film major. We also have an agreement with College of Natural Sciences to early admit UGS students in their third semester, who meet criteria.
- The Office of Enrollment Management’s internal transfer committee is currently reviewing university policies and procedures related to high-demand majors. The Office of Enrollment Management is also creating a new web page to serve as a central information platform for prospective students interested in honors program. OEM will collaborative with the CSUs as this work progresses.
3.5 Action Item: Inform and expose diverse undergraduate students to graduate school and professional schools.
Status: In Progress
- The Graduate School participates in graduate recruiting fairs around the country every fall, including fairs with an emphasis on recruiting underrepresented students. These opportunities explore opportunities for graduate study, the admissions process, and financial support for hundreds of prospective students.
- James W. Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling offers graduate school planning appointments to all UT Austin students. In the 2017-2018 year there were 136 graduate school planning appointments, and 191 attendees at graduate school planning presentations.
- Several programs within the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence such as the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Intellectual Entrepreneurship, and Discover Law expose students to undergraduate research and mentorship with graduate students, professionals, and faculty members. Approximately 200 diverse undergraduates, many of whom are first-generation college students, participate in these programs each academic year.
- Two new Campus-to-Career programs are being planned in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence: one in Pre-Pharmacy and one in Pre-Health.
3.6 Action Item: Each CSU should appoint a formal leader to lead diversity efforts for graduate students.
Status: On Target
The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies oversees recruitment and outreach efforts, as well as develops partnerships with campus offices and service providers to design and implement diversity training and opportunities for professional development focused on inclusion and equity. This year the Graduate School partnered with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies by making a financial commitment to support staff and graduate students who provide diversity training to the campus community.
3.7 Action Item: Identify and document funding opportunities to provide support for graduate students from diverse backgrounds.
Status: On Target
The Graduate School offers a number of diversity fellowships that provide support for underrepresented students. These fellowships include: McNair Scholars, South Texas Fellowships, West Texas Fellowships, and Mentoring Fellowships. Most diversity-focused fellowships provide a $30,000, 12-month stipend, health insurance assistance, and the tuition assistance benefit.
Continue to 4. Faculty.