UTEP Campus
UTEP Campus

$1.2M Grant Provides Personalized Approach to Advising at UTEP

The University of Texas at El Paso is among five University of Texas System institutions to receive a share of $8.2 million allocated by the UT System Board of Regents to fund innovative campus-based projects designed to enhance student success.

UTEP was awarded $1.2 million to implement a new holistic, cohort-based advising model. In alignment with the UTEP Edge – the cross-campus culture of student success – grant funds for this initiative will be used to strategically redesign advising campuswide to deliver centralized, cohort-based advising that is:

  • Initiated in the UTEP Academic Advising Center (through a student’s first 45 credit hours)
  • Completed in their discipline-specific college advising center
  • Focused on both academic and financial elements of a student’s career
  • Dedicated to promoting and elevating students’ engagement in high-impact practices

High-impact practices include research and scholarly activity, on-campus student employment, community engagement, capstone experience, creative activity, learning communities, internships, student leadership opportunities, study abroad/study away, and first-year experience.

“UTEP’s advising redesign will provide each student with seamless, personalized support through an integrated approach, from admissions to graduation,” said Heather Smith, associate vice president for academic affairs at UTEP. “This integrated approach is designed to enhance UTEP’s culture of care by bridging students’ academic, financial and social realities, which will increase students’ retention, decrease time to degree, and enhance post-graduation success.”

UTEP will use a structured, individualized framework to shape the academic and co-curricular plan for each student, based on the student’s unique characteristics (interests, aspirations and commitments).

The plans will be developed during students’ first-semester enrollment and will be designed to empower students to cultivate their assets and create pathways to degree completion. Success will be measured by retention during the critical first term and first year.

UTEP advisers will utilize statistical insights and advanced advising tools that have been developed and piloted throughout the last decade.

“The new approach to advising focuses on understanding each student’s situation and providing the right conditions for every student’s individual success,” Smith said. “In doing so, we will be in a position to provide support for all students, especially those from historically underserved populations.This new approach is a fundamental change in how we think about student success and UTEP’s role within this process.”

It has been 30 years since UTEP’s Academic Advising Center was established. The UT System grant provides the opportunity to reimagine its mission and vision, add six positions over the next three years and implement the new holistic advising models to better serve students.