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REACH celebrates 10 years of helping students

by UofL Today last modified Sep 16, 2010 03:57 PM

Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sept. 16 with a picnic to thank the campus community for helping contribute to the office's success.

The program, whose anniversary is July 1, provides tutoring and other services to help students succeed.

"None of us do things alone," said Executive Director Cathy Leist. "REACH has received tremendous support from the university over the past 10 years. Our growth and development would not have been possible without the support of our student clients, student employees, university faculty, university advisers and staff, and the provost's office. The 10-Year Celebration was our way of saying 'thank you' to the university community for this past and continuing support for REACH at the end of our first decade."

REACH has worked with some 25,000 students since 2003.

"REACH now is a very different program than it was in 2000," Leist said.

Its evolution and development have been the result of UofL's focus on extending and intensifying academic support for all undergraduate students, she noted. The program's targeted service area was narrower 10 years ago.

"When REACH began in 2000, the unit consisted of a new partnership program with the Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) called Pathways for Success, a small math lab for drop-in support for JCTC courses on the Belknap Campus, a small computer service center, Undergraduate Studies Advising for university 'undecided' students and for students enrolled in Continuing Studies, and a small Learning Resources program organized to offer tutoring and supplemental instruction.

Restructuring of the program in 2003 put it on its current course.

"Today REACH is a large and complex learning resources and academic development unit," Leist said.

REACH offers multiple academic support services and retention programs, and conducts many of them in partnership with other initiatives across the Belknap Campus.

The REACH strategy is helping more UofL students succeed.

"For a long time we assumed that if students met the criteria to be admitted to the university, they would do fine. We now know that no matter how well-prepared, many students still need the specific tutoring, supplemental instruction and other resources that REACH offers," said University Provost Shirley Willihnganz.

"Perhaps even more than this," she said, "they need to know that there are people who care and who welcome them into a community that values and supports their efforts to succeed. REACH students and staff have done a superb job doing both, and their work has clearly contributed to the university's overall ability to achieve our retention and graduation goals."

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