Wildcat Journey

Pillar 1: The Wildcat Journey

Driving Student Success for a Rapidly Changing World

At the heart of the strategic plan lies our commitment to drive student success in a rapidly changing world. We build on the deep and powerful legacy of the University of Arizona to prepare our students with the skills and mindsets to lead in the 4IR. The Wildcat journey pillar is our strategy to adapt to the future needs of our students and our state from recruitment and initial enrollment to timely graduation and placement into the workforce.

Pillar Owner: Elliott Cheu

OSI Project Manager: Carlos Castellanos

The following Pillar 1 initiatives are moving forward in the first wave supported by college, department, unit and/or Strategic Initiatives Funds (SIF) support. If interested in learning more, University employees and students can read the full plan here. External constituents can read the plan here.

For questions, please contact Initiative Owners (listed below), Elliott Cheu (Pillar Owner) or Carlos Castellanos (OSI Project Manager).

    # initiative owner email co-owner email
1.1A1 Strategically recruit prospective high-potential undergraduate students Kasey Urquidez kasandra@email.arizona.edu Dani Rollins rollinsd@email.arizona.edu
To maintain our level of excellence in the 21st century, we must effectively respond to changing demographics and educational trends, while recruiting, enrolling and supporting a diverse and high-potential student body. To do this, we will increase investments in Enrollment Management staff, operations, and marketing dollars to assist in addressing pipeline issues and to attract the best and brightest students in Arizona and from around the world. We will employ targeted recruitment strategies that increase overall academic quality, number of applicants, and yield rates, while retaining our commitment to access.
1.1A2 Aid without Anchor Kasey Urquidez kasandra@email.arizona.edu Helen Horetski helenh@email.arizona.edu
The Aid without Anchor initiative strategically utilizes new staff members in financial aid (merit and need) to meet need levels, as approved in portions of the plan. This sub-initiative provides funding for financial aid staff to work with students to address their financial aid questions and needs as well as educate them about financial aid and the potential implications. This strategy ensures student success from initial enrollment to graduation and supports the enrollment strategy for the institution with a particular emphasis on the FTFT cohort, academic quality, and diversity metrics. In addition, the strategy will ensure students are prepared for long-term financial success.
1.1A4 Financial Aid for Retention Kasey Urquidez kasandra@email.arizona.edu Cynthia Demetriou cpd@email.arizona.edu
The Financial Aid for Retention initiative strategically utilizes financial aid (merit and need) to meet need levels sufficient to recruit and retain UA students. It provides funding for financial aid staff and/or financial wellness counselors to educate and work with students to address their financial questions and needs. This holistic strategy ensures student success from initial enrollment to graduation and supports the enrollment strategy for the institution with a particular emphasis on the FTFT cohort, as well as the expansion of the Arizona Assurance cohort. In addition, the strategy will ensure all students obtain adequate financial resources and are prepared for long-term financial success.
1.1A6 Financial Aid Top Up Pilot Kasey Urquidez kasandra@email.arizona.edu Helen Horetski helenh@email.arizona.edu
To maintain our level of excellence in the 21st century, we must effectively respond to changing demographics and educational trends, while recruiting, enrolling and supporting a diverse and high-potential student body. This initiative is a pilot program focused on increasing the number of high achieving, domestic non-resident students and high achieving, Pell eligible resident students (Arizona), who enroll, by offering "top up" financial aid merit awards following initial merit aid awards offered in the fall. The pilot will check validity of data analytics for enrollment, financial aid and net tuition revenue.
1.1B1 Arizona Community College partnerships for transfer enrollment growth Kasey Urquidez kasandra@email.arizona.edu Dani Rollins rollinsd@email.arizona.edu
The focus of this initiative is to build strong and lasting relationships with the Arizona Community College system by establishing a presence on all campuses, communicating regularly and effectively with leadership and advisors, providing consistent and concise reports for the tracking of current and future transfers, and developing clear and purposeful pathway partnerships between the colleges and the UA. Success will be measured by an increase in enrolled students, increased Bridge participants, and growth in the degree pathways between AZCC's and UA.
1.1B5 Develop a Prospective Transfer Student Portal Kasey Urquidez kasandra@email.arizona.edu Darcy Van Patten darcyvp@email.arizona.edu
This initiative is focused on developing a robust prospective transfer student portal to centralize resources, provide point in time information, and allow students to learn more about course transferability and degree exploration. Highlights of the initiative include the ability to create an account to save information, a complete listing of available degree pathways, and the ability to enter courses to receive a summary on how the courses will transfer. The long-term goal will be to provide direct integration to community college student information systems in the state of Arizona and beyond.
1.2A1 Design a new Gen Ed curriculum Elliott Cheu echeu@email.arizona.edu
This initiative will result in a transformed General Education (GE) curriculum that will prepare students for a changing and complex world. The focus of the GE program will be on confronting Grand Challenges and learning how to solve difficult and multidisciplinary problems. The curriculum focuses on 4IR skills and interdisciplinary courses, delivered to smaller student cohorts. The vision for the new GE program is to provide students with preparation into their future studies and successful careers with a common UA foundation. The GE Core will comprise three components: one-unit first year course, thematic Grand Challenge courses and 4IR skills courses.
1.3B Dramatically scale innovative learning spaces Lisa Elfring elfring@email.arizona.edu Tina Deemer deemer@email.arizona.edu
To build on the UA's commitment to provide deep and meaningful learning experiences, this initiative involves renovation and transformation of centrally-located classrooms and other facilities across campus. Active and collaborative learning strategies result in increased student learning, engagement, and development of workplace-relevant skills. Although many evidence-based teaching strategies can be implemented in any physical setting, there is no doubt that the physical layout of the classroom can impact student engagement and the use of instructional strategies.
1.3B2 Old Chem Building renovation Mike Herman mikeherman@email.arizona.edu Tina Deemer deemer@email.arizona.edu
        Vicente Talanquer vicente@email.arizona.edu
To build on the UA's commitment to provide deep and meaningful learning experiences, this initiative involves a high-visibility renovation of the centrally located, historic Old Chemistry building into an innovative-teaching hub. Active and collaborative learning strategies result in increased student learning, engagement, and development of workplace-relevant skills. Although many evidence-based teaching strategies can be implemented in any physical setting, there is no doubt that the physical layout of the classroom can impact student engagement and the use of instructional strategies.
1.4A1  Analytics Engine Cynthia Demetriou cpd@email.arizona.edu Jen Ludwig ludwigj@email.arizona.edu
The goal of this initiative is to catalog existing student success and retention infrastructure, establish benchmarks and best-practices for student success support, and create a long-term strategy for investing in and expanding upon these practices. The current infrastructure for student success programming is both centralized and decentralized at various scales (e.g., some colleges centralize while others don’t, some programming happens in central administration, etc.) causing inconsistent practices related to student success resulting in gaps in programming that impacts the quality of the student experience. The Analytics Engine will prove a suite of tools for early warnings and student notes to overcome these gaps.
1.4A2 Intervention Playbook Cynthia Demetriou cpd@email.arizona.edu Jen Ludwig ludwigj@email.arizona.edu
To serve as a leader, in our peer group, and in public, research universities nationally and to achieve our ABOR goals, UA needs a comprehensive, campus-wide plan for student success and an infrastructure designed with the student experience in mind. This initiative will improve process and programming in the following ways: increase access to mental health services, grow the already successful First Cats programming, improve support of students in academic jeopardy, implement “Last Mile” grants to students who are close to graduating but are not enrolled, reinvest in Arizona Assurance Scholars Program, expand Supplemental Instruction in the Think Tank and grow the Writing Center, among others.
1.4A3 One Team, One Dream Roxie Catts catts@email.arizona.edu Jen Ludwig ludwigj@email.arizona.edu
The One Team initiative shores up advising services in the colleges by assigning the most talented and experienced advisors to work with students in transition or in academic jeopardy and reducing advisor caseload in key areas. Wayfinders (first-year advising experts) from each college will provide additional programming delivered centrally for students with similar academic and career interests. Advising Data Analysts placed within each college will help guide proactive advising practices, outreach campaigns and monitor academic programs. New advisor and support staff training will help to ensure a consistent and high-quality student experience campus-wide.
1.4B2 Residential Renaissance Amanda Kraus akraus@email.arizona.edu    
The goal of the Residential Renaissance is to leverage the residential experience to support Pilar 1 goals of increased success and retention of UA students. We will engage all residents in a first-year success curriculum that offer supports at critical UA milestones. The residential curriculum will introduce students to UA culture and traditions, and proactively address issues that contribute to retention, such as financial health, study skills and involvement. As we prepare students to navigate an increasingly global and complex society, these foundational topics will provide a solid foundation upon which to build their UA careers and beyond.
1.6A1 Creating the UA’s 4IR Story Steve Moore stevemoore@email.arizona.edu John Denker johndenker@arizona.edu
Creating the 4IR story focuses on the need for the University of Arizona to create a common purpose and define our core values. This initiative requires broad outreach to students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni and community members. The purpose statement and core values will become the “north star” of the University of Arizona brand and corresponding brand positioning (i.e. brand/advertising theme and campaign). This initiative works in conjunction with 5.1B Living Our Core Values to create a shared sense of values that aligns our sense of purpose as members of the UA community.
1.6B5 Bear Down Network Melinda Burke melinda.burke@al.arizona.edu Quinn Miller Quinn.Miller@al.arizona.edu
This initiative will strengthen our alumni's lifelong connections to the UA by strengthening the alumni network through increased communication, targeted, meaningful programming and valuable experiences which will build life long affinity, support and giving to the UA. To support our alumni worldwide, we will launch of the Bear Down Network, an exclusive online hub where alumni will have networking and career development opportunities at their fingertips. This initiative will also support a collaborative approach to engagement, involving our network of alumni chapters and our campus partners in providing relevant content through a robust communications plan and a varied menu of campus and national programming for our alumni.

Wildcat Journey