College News

UW-Oshkosh Titan Advantage Program invests in incoming students, inclusive college experience

UW-Oshkosh Titan Advantage Program supports more than 50 students this year — more than three times the previous amount in their five-year run — to increase accessibility to underrepresented students at the university. 

Image By: Courtesy of UW-Oshkosh

For the past five years, the Titan Advantage Program has granted UW-Oshkosh incoming students with a whirlwind of academic opportunities — and a chance to have the college experience before starting the school year.

The program provides incoming first-year students with the chance to earn four to six credits in six weeks during the summer prior to starting the academic year. The school conducts courses in math, reading and writing, which will also help students develop relationships with their professors and advisors on campus. 

It aims to be a model within not only the UW System, but in states that have historically combatted achievement gaps. 

The goal was to allow underrepresented students to experience the college environment before students arrive at the start of the semester. Recruitment is geared toward students of color and low-income students as well as first-generation students. 

"I think the takeaway is that an investment in support services is an investment in student success," UW-Oshkosh Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Support and Inclusive Excellence Sylvia Carey-Butler said. "We are seeing the outcomes that we expected, and we're not surprised." 

Student success goes beyond grade achievement since the program allows them to adopt study tactics, like how to skillfully read a textbook and write notes, as well as taking multiple-choice tests and keeping up with the fast timeline of courses, according to Carey-Butler. 

Throughout the past five years, all 137 students involved in the program earned a C or higher on every course in completion of the program. In the program’s first year, there were 14 students — five years later, it serves more than 50. 

The university’s goal is to aid nearly 100 students a year, according to Carey-Butler. This would match similar programs at other universities that work to facilitate the college transition. 

There are no costs for students who participate; however, the cost to join the university at the start of the semester is $5,000 per student, clarified Titan Advantage Program Coordinator Mai Khou Xiong.

Recruiting and retaining students traditionally underrepresented on campuses has improved in the UW System, notably at UW-Oshkosh. 

At the university, 43 percent of the students were first-generation in 2018. The number of students of color increased more than 4 percent in the last 5 years, rounding out to 15 percent total enrollment this past fall. 

Titan Advantage Program students account for 16 percent of the undergraduate students of color at the university, according to Xiong.

For their inclusive and equitable efforts, they earned a UW System Diversity Award alongside two other recipients in February.

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