Marshall Foundation Funds Partnership between THINK TANK and Cultural Centers
July 26, 2017
The Marshall Foundation has funded a proposal to provide academic support services to underrepresented student populations at the University of Arizona. In academic year 2017-18, The THINK TANK will work with Asian Pacific American Student Affairs (APASA), African American Student Affairs (AASA), Native American Student Affairs (NASA), and the Adalberto & Ana Guerrero Student Center. Forty hours of services will be provided each week for the 32 weeks of the academic year. Cultural Center Directors may refer some students to the THINK TANK for fee-based services like Exam Preps, graduate level Test Prep courses, and private tutoring that will be delivered at no cost to the students.
Students are comfortable in their own space and are more likely to use services there. In a propensity score matching analysis, underrepresented students that visit the THINK TANK five or more times are retained at a rate that is 9.6% higher (90.9% retention) than the control group of similar students that didn’t visit. This project aims to retain a diverse student body and have a successful impact on graduation rates at the UA. By providing services where the students already spend time, the partnership will serve students that might not seek out services otherwise and will enhance the ethos of study in the spaces.
As a secondary impact, the collaboration will involve recruitment of student employees who will be hired, trained, and supervised by the THINK TANK to provide services within areas supported by the centers. For these students, the program provides the added benefits of engagement, connection to the institution, and preparation for post-collegiate careers.
There is a nationwide crisis of failing to provide underrepresented students the tools they need to succeed and graduate, and the UA is on the forefront of initiatives that can be replicated at other universities to mitigate this crisis.