NASPA, the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession, recognized Rensselaer’s work in lifting students to success through the Undergraduate Probation Intervention Program (UPIP) and Student Success Labs by awarding the university the Silver Excellence Award for the Enrollment Management, Financial Aid, Orientation, Parent, Persistence, First-Year, and related categories.
Designed and implemented by the Office of Student Success through collaboration and support from the dean of student success, undergraduate class deans, vice provost for undergraduate education, Advising and Learning Assistance Center, Student Health and Counseling Center, and select faculty, UPIP addresses the unique academic and personal challenges faced by sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The program includes a tailored personal success plan, one-on-one mentoring meetings, and a weekly series of holistic workshops aimed at making change.
The weekly workshops, called Student Success Labs, include cognitive plasticity; advanced time management; sleep, diet, and fitness; a two-part resilience development series; a two-part mindfulness series; a two-part motivation and change series; help-seeking behavior; academic anxiety; personal development; academic skills preparation for finals; money management; and vocational alignment. The series is open to the entire campus community.
“The UPIP program, led by Student Life, is an outstanding example of collaboration between
academics and the Division of Student Life, in what is an unprecedented degree of communication and coordination to better improve the success of our students,” said Linda S. Schadler, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education. “It is also a testament to the creativity, and theoretical grounding of Rensselaer’s student life staff, that they have used theory, practice, and quantitative data to create an outstanding program.”
Piloted in 2014 and institutionalized in the fall of 2015, the UPIP program has served 554 students. Each workshop is assessed, pre and post, and the success for the program is measured in the overall retention rate of participants. Since the implementation of UPIP, 90 percent of the students who participated in the program continued their studies at Rensselaer, climbing from 87 percent at the start of the program to 93 percent currently.
“The comprehensive nature of our Undergraduate Probation Intervention Program and Student Success Labs demonstrates Rensselaer’s commitment, as an Institutewide collaboration, to lifting our students to identify their aspirations and meet their greatest potential,” said Lisa Trahan, assistant vice president for student success. “It is with great honor that I recognize all who have consistently and determinedly put our students at the center of their work with the explicit goal of supporting them to a trajectory of success.”
Aligning closely with Rensselaer’s strategic plan, UPIP encourages a transformative, integrated living/learning approach to support students in their social and personal growth, academic excellence, and preparation for leadership. This is the second time Rensselaer has been recognized by a NASPA National Award of Excellence. In 2006, Rensselaer earned a Gold Award for its First-Year Experience innovative orientation program and signature Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond program.