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Academic Success Plans

Resident Advisors are valuable student leaders within UNC Charlotte’s campus community that help fulfill the mission of Student Affairs by creating and sustaining safe and inclusive environments in our residence halls. Often the first line of support for those in their residential communities, RAs work diligently to encourage personal wellbeing, sense of belonging, and academic growth by connecting students with appropriate campus resources. 

To ensure support for each RA’s academic success and to maximize opportunities for continuation of their employment, Housing and Residence Life (HRL) has implemented Academic Success Plans in partnership with the University Center for Academic Excellence (UCAE) for nearly four years. Student staff members who have fallen near or below the 2.5 GPA requirement for the RA position work collaboratively with their supervising Residence Education Coordinator (REC) and the UCAE to generate an individualized action plan to help navigate the entire following semester. 

How do Academic Success Plans (ASPs) work?

  1. RAs meet 1:1 with their REC to establish SMART goals and expectations for communication.
  2. RAs take the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) Assessment 
  3. LASSI results are reviewed at the initial UCAE meeting and strategies are developed
  4. Two follow-up meetings with the UCAE helps RAs reflect on progress, regroup on goals and strategies, and discuss end-of-semester projects and finals. 
  5. A final notification is sent to RAs from HRL on academic standing and future employment

The results? More compassionate and productive accountability conversations, higher GPAs, and more students retaining their RA position. In Spring 2018 when ASPs were first implemented, about 18% of RAs experienced academic probation or watch. In Spring 2021, this rate was down to 3%, with over one-third of RAs achieving a 4.0 semester GPA. RAs’ average cumulative GPA also steadily increased during this time frame from 3.21 to 3.57. 

Rasheda Sykes, Associate Director for Learning Strategies and Instruction at the UCAE, explained that the Academic Success Plan process that RAs complete is more uniquely structured than the typical student experience. For example, in addition to completing a Personal Academic Consultation, all RAs engaged in the ASP process also complete the LASSI Assessment, create SMART goals, and schedule follow-up meetings to monitor progress. According to Sykes, HRL is the only department within Student Affairs that currently utilizes an ASP program for student staff members who may be struggling academically, but the UCAE has the space to accommodate more departments for similar programs.

RAs engaged in the process have also expressed that the ASPs were much needed, and helped mitigate the stress of overwhelming class schedules and content. One RA, who has test anxiety, explained that the UCAE provided different study strategies at each session and also referred them to a CALM Workshop on campus provided by Counseling and Psychological Services. Another RA says that the ASP helped them sit down and process their academic needs, and hold themself accountable to making helpful changes. 

Those familiar with Housing and Residence Life at Charlotte know just how much time and effort RAs dedicate to their position and their residents. The department is thankful for our strong partnership with the UCAE and the opportunity to help our student staff members maximize their academic success.

How do Academic Success Plans work graphic