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Texas A&M-Kingsville joins initiative to help level the playing field for student success

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KINGSVILLE — Texas A&M University-Kingsville is one of 15 institutions selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to participate in the newly launched Transformation Accelerator Cohort (TAC).

The program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is designed to help institutions eliminate race, ethnicity, and income as predictors of student success.

The two-year, team-based learning journey accelerates institutional transformation by providing customized support for making data-informed decisions grounded in students’ realities. Campus leaders will learn best practices to close equity gaps and achieve student success goals for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income students.

Dr. Shanon Baker, Associate Vice President for Student Success, is the campus lead on the project.

“This initiative will help our students because it will provide us with tools and information to enhance student success strategies to reach all of our students in an equitable manner. We will strive to close equity gaps for students to improve student success and improve graduation rates,” Baker said. “We look forward to creating targeted and culturally relevant student success strategies, both through instructional approaches and student support services.”


The TAC cohort approach involves peer-to-peer learning across institutions via in-person and virtual Student Success Academies. Participants will have access to resources, such as online modules and webinars, and receive support from subject matter experts in data analytics, equity, student success, advising, institutional transformation, and strategic and systems planning.

“Texas A&M University-Kingsville defines student success holistically, taking care to think about the whole life of the student, rather than just academics.  Additionally, we recognize the need to focus on student success throughout the life cycle of the student, rather than just during their freshman year,” Baker said. “Student success is enhanced by wrap around student services, including professional academic advising, assistance offered by College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) certified tutors, as well as peer mentorship and guidance in the first-year experience.  It is defined by students who are actively engaged in their education through experiential and service learning, undergraduate research, and internships.”


The inaugural TAC cohort – selected through a highly competitive application process – comprises the following AASCU institutions:


  • Albany State University (Ga.)
  • California State University-Fresno
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • College of Staten Island CUNY
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • PASSHE/Bloomsburg University, Lockhaven University, Mansfield University (Penn.)
  • SUNY College at Oswego
  • Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  • Texas A&M Kingsville
  • Prairie View A&M University (Texas)
  • Texas A&M University System
  • Texas A&M University-San Antonio
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • William Paterson University (N.J.)


Among the participants, representing rural, urban, and suburban areas across the country are seven Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs); three historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs); and three Asian American and Native American Pacific-Islander serving Institutions (AANAPISIs).

The selected institutions serve 120,525 students (FTE), with an average Pell eligibility of 48%.

“AASCU is proud to be leading the nation on postsecondary student success for America’s New Majority at state colleges and universities,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “For over 50 years, AASCU has partnered with member institutions to deliver on the American promise of access, affordability and educational opportunity. The Transformation Accelerator Cohort articulates an equity imperative to help everyone see their role in ensuring success for Black, Latinx, indigenous and low-income students.

TAC is an important part of a robust array of programs and services that AASCU offers to help its members achieve student success goals. The end-to-end guided learning experience empowers participating institutions to meet the unique needs of current and future students.



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