UCF DirectConnect Consortium Boosts Bachelor’s Degree Attainment

Victor Rodriguez has gone from a subpar high school grade average to reputation at one in every of America’s surest graduate colleges, thank you in large component to a application initiated by way of the University of Central Florida this is helping minority, first-era and different underrepresented switch students earn a bachelor’s diploma.

“It nearly felt effortless, in an excellent way,” stated Rodriguez, whose gradea and recognition suffered through high faculty as his single-parent circle of relatives often relocated.

Not long after enrolling in Valencia College, he have become aware of DirectConnect to UCF, an initiative that ensures admission to UCF from students at Valencia or 5 different network colleges who’ve earned as accomplice of arts or an articulated partner of science diploma.

The personnel, coaches and different advisers who supported Rodriguez as he worked toward a partner’s in pre-articulated engineering “didn’t make me feel like an oddball,” he said. “They made me feel confident approximately myself.”

That’s been an aim of DirectConnect considering the fact that UCF set up it thirteen years ago to promote more achievement some of the 6,000-plus students who yearly switch to the college from six primary Florida country faculties, the equivalent of network schools.

The university partners with the colleges – Valencia, Daytona, Seminole, Eastern Florida, Lake Sumter and the College of Central Florida – to assist college students smoothly and successfully switch to UCF to gain a bachelor’s degree.

UCF is nationally identified as a leader in switch scholar success, and DirectConnect has played a function in that with fantastic cumulative outcomes in view that 2006:

· A 382-percentage boom in ranges earned via minority students, from 494 to 2,379.

· A 378-percent soar in ranges earned by Hispanic and Latinx students, from 280 to at least one,313.

· A 369-percentage hike in stages earned by way of Black college students, 125 to 598.

· A 372-percent rise in tiers earned through Pell grant recipients – who have a tendency to be from modest-income families – from 682 to 3,220.

· A 195-percentage increase in levels awarded to first-technology college students, from 566 to 1,669.

A overall performance precis for the 2017-18 faculty year in addition demonstrates the achievement of DirectConnect, with its college students accounting for simply over 30 percent of newly enrolled UCF undergraduates, a first-year retention rate of almost 82 percent, almost forty percentage of all UCF ranges offered and thirteen.1 percent of the stages received by means of first-era college students.

Curriculum alignment and achievement coaching are key additives of DirectConnect, which this spring graduated its 50,000th scholar.

Rodriguez was part of that class.

“My entire existence, I become academically bold,” stated the New York native. “I’ve continually been precise in faculty. School becomes by no means without a doubt a war to me, and I usually loved it.”

But after years of housing insecurity with his mom and more youthful siblings, inflicting Rodriguez’s cognizance and grades to suffer as he bounced from college to school, he ended up with a low high faculty grade common.

He won admission to Valencia, in which he learned about DirectConnect. Advisers helped him live targeted and taught him the value of networking. He assumed he would earn his bachelor’s degree and get a task – till they confirmed him more opportunities.

At UCF, Rodriguez has become Ronald E. McNair Scholar. And he stayed at the college an additional yr to take courses that could beef up his credentials – inclusive of conducting studies at the NanoScience Technology Center – and boost his possibilities of triumphing admission to a top graduate application, graduating six years after he began Valencia.

“The individuals who cautioned me actually cared,” stated Rodriguez. “They provided a variety of steerage.”

With his freshly minted bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in hand, he will move to Pittsburgh in August and start studying toward a Ph.D. In engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Like hundreds of other DirectConnect college students, Rodriguez becomes the first in his own family to graduate from college.

“DirectConnect turned into a key to possibility,” he stated. “It truly grew to become my existence around. It’s a possibility in which in case you, in reality, take advantage of it, you can set your self up for achievement.”

UCF is the state’s largest switch faculty. Vice Provost Dr. J. Jeffrey Jones, who leads the UCF Connect division, described DirectConnect as a consortium controlled by UCF Connect to help the college excellent serve transfer students at its eleven regional campuses, that are co-located with the six-kingdom college companions.

“It became truly a get entry to a mission,” stated Jones. “The usual variety of socioeconomic, first-technology, races and languages have honestly been better by using the truth that the DirectConnect software does offer get right of entry to to college students who in any other case may not be capable of attending UCF.”

The fulfillment coaches are embedded within the campuses and skilled to “cope with ninety percent of what a student faces and manual them thru it to achieve success,” said partner vice provost Pam Cavanaugh, DirectConnect’s operational lead.

The consortium is in a regular kingdom of assessment and improvement.

UCF and the national college partners work together to ensure their curricula are aligned in fields ranging from STEM to economics to ease the academic transition into UCF. A Consortium Academic Collaboration Committee explores capacity diploma additions, supporting the kingdom schools create proposals for desired bachelor’s packages that aren’t duplicative, said Jones.

They additionally conduct cognizance companies and convene pupil panels to evaluate the consortium and are tracking an uptick in grade averages, retention and commencement quotes.

There’s also sensitivity to the numerous nontraditional students who balance more than one priorities, stated Cavanaugh.

“It’s really commencing doors for students who might not come in any other case, and that they’re competing,” she said.

In August, UCF and Valencia will open a joint campus in downtown Orlando with classrooms, house halls, and different services to serve approximately 7,000 college students. Students will pay Valencia – whose lessons are set half of-of UCF’s – and earn UCF credit.

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