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Re-Imagining the First-Year at Tarleton State University

RFY@Tarleton - Re-Imagining the First-Year Experience at Tarleton State University

Tarleton is entering the third year of its participation in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities sponsored Re-Imagining the First Year (RFY) experience initiative, guided by Dr. Jennifer Edwards, assistant vice president for Student Success and Multicultural Initiatives.

We are focused on first-year students and preparing them to continue and advance through their collegiate journey to graduation. That includes working with first-generation students. Our goal is to reach and maintain 75 percent persistence for First Time in College students.

This effort has been a true academic affairs and student affairs partnership, focusing on the students who have 2.0 to 3.0 GPAs.  Below that, systems are in place to provide tutoring and other assistance; above that and students receive Honors support.

Peer Mentoring and Academic Coaching are two efforts to aid the first year students, along with just in time messaging to encourage students to seek help and ensure their own success.   A message could be sent after a first test, or after finals, offering to answer questions and encouraging students to sign up for the next semester.

The data shows slight progress in student grades in the five core classes measured for AASCU.We’re moving in the right direction!

A major initiative has been developing Guided Pathways to provide students a way to know what classes are available when those classes are offered and what careers their academic program could lead to.  The intent also is to show students how they can use their credits to switch to related majors if they wish, with Dr. Rusty Freed, associate vice president for outreach, leading that effort.

Faculty realize the impact on our students. They care about making a difference in students’ lives. They know that their helping hand can lead to seeing that student cross the stage in four years.

We hope to continue to grow awareness of the RFY initiative and also provide more training for department heads, deans and others on campus.

For more information contact Dr. Edwards at 254-968-9638.

Background of RFY@Tarleton

In December 2015, Tarleton State University was selected as one of the 44 American Association of State Colleges and Universities member institutions to join the national "Re-Imagining the First Year Experience" initiative. This Academic Affairs and Student Affairs initiative involves 44 public universities and is focused on the financial barriers, academic barriers, and lack of social support experienced by first-year students attending colleges and universities. To address these barriers, each institution included in the initiative is required to simultaneously focus on four areas: institutional intentionality, curriculum, faculty/staff, and students.

The Re-Imagining the First-Year Experience (RFY) is a three-year AASCU initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USA Funds. As part of the initiative, Tarleton State University will implement, test, and evaluate the results of best practices for increasing retention rates and academic success of first-year students. The RFY initiative is focused on the success of all students, however, there is a special emphasis on first-generation and students from underrepresented populations. 


Outcomes of the RFY@Tarleton Initiative:

At the institution level, the specific objective is to help all students, but particularly students who are from low-income households, who will be the first in their families to graduate from college, or students from ethnically underrepresented populations. The RFY@Tarleton Initiative will help the students transition to their second year in college, achieve greater learning outcomes, increase their confidence as capable learners, and prepare them for success.

RFY@Tarleton Innovation Team 

Institutional Intentionality 

Murray, Dr. Karen

Brown, Ms. Shelly

Mogonye, Mr. Kurt (+ F/S)

Curriculum Bucket

Taylor, Dr. Diane L.

Faulkenberry, Dr. Thomas

Gentry, Dr. James

Geye, Ms. Trina

Gray, Ms. Rebecca

Faculty/Staff Bucket

Boren, Dr. Laura

Emmert, Dr. Keith

Latouche, Dr. Jason

Sims, Mr. Kavaris

Student Bucket

Edwards, Dr. Jennifer

Nwidobie, Mr. Jeffery L

Towns, Ms. Lathes

Connect with the RFY@Tarleton Team on Twitter by viewing resources, adding resources, and promoting the initiative!

Recent Press Releases about RFY@Tarleton

Additional Resources about the RFY Initiative

Dr. George L. Mehaffy's Speech at the Launch of RFY -

List of Participating Institutions -

Recent Press Releases about RFY@Tarleton

Tarleton Part of AASCU Project to Redesign First-Year College Experience

AASCU Announces New Project to Re-Design Students' First-Year College Experience