Student Success Innovation Grants

A SmartPen is used with the interactive tactile map.

A SmartPen is used with the interactive, tactile map being funded by a Student Success Innovation Grant.

TACMap - UC Davis Tactile and Audio Campus Map

Contacts: Joshua Hori, Lee Miller, Kurt Eiselt, Susan Verba

Departments: Student Disability Center, Center for Design in the Public Interest

In collaboration, the Student Disability Center, Center for Design in the Public Interest, and the Disability Issues Administrative Advisory Committee (DIAAC) are building the first truly interactive tactile+audio UC Davis campus map. In a hands-on group study, students will design, develop and deploy five interactive maps and evaluate their effectiveness through user feedback. This project will improve and enhance physical access to the university for individuals with visual, learning and mobility impairments as well as the greater campus community and its visitors.

This cutting-edge tool will depict the physical features of the Davis campus, including buildings and structures, guide users to accessible routes and inform users of what they can expect at each location, such as offices housed within individual buildings. Conceptually, think in terms of a talking “Life” game board with raised buildings, smooth pathways and colorful landscapes. This image depicts roughly how the finished map will appear. The maps will have greater tactile detail and will be loaded with audible cues to assist users to quickly locate buildings, offices and accessible routes. View a short demo of the maps.

A SmartPen, programmed to read aloud fine details such as office names and location within each building, will work in tandem with each of the maps. To reach the widest number of users, the map will be available for public use in the following strategic locations:

  • Student Disability Center, Main Office—To assist students as they transition onto the UC Davis campus.
  • Student Disability Center, Satellite Office—Located in the Memorial Union and next to the ASUCD Student Senate desk, this map will be available to support the greater UC Davis community and model inclusivity.
  • Student Community Center—A central campus location to assist students and visitors.
  • Welcome Center—To assist visitors who come to campus when campus tours may not be available.
  • Center for Design in the Public Interest—To continue to interest students in the production of accessible tools using Universal Design concepts

To encourage student involvement and ownership, and incorporate their perspectives throughout the process, Associate Professor Susan Verba will offer a DES 198 (group study) course. Group studies are an opportunity for faculty-mentored student teams to work on specific design projects for variable unit upper-division credit.

African American Experience

Contact: Elroy Pinks

Department: Undergraduate Admissions

The African American Experience (AAE) will provide an engaging campus visit experience for up to 20 high-achieving Southern, Northern and Central California African American freshman admits and their families. This will be a two-day, one-night residential experience, with accommodations on campus or at a nearby hotel. The event will take place April 6-7, 2018, to take advantage of the freshman Decision Day programming offered on April 7, 2018. The African American Experience event will help UC Davis to achieve the following.

  1. Increase attendance of high-achieving African American admits at freshman Decision Day.
  2. Increase on-campus engagement of these high-achieving African American admits surrounding issues of financial aid and student support resources as well as campus and community atmosphere.
  3. Increase African American family engagement, often major enrollment decision-makers.
  4. Provide for a more intimate and robust engagement of African American families with the UC Davis campus and its rich resources and community.
  5. Increase African American community awareness and affinity with UC Davis for both 2018 admits and future entering classes.
  6. Increase the propensity for high achieving African American freshman admits to submit an SIR and enroll at UC Davis.

AggieLife Expansion

Contacts: Kristin Dees and Molly Bechtel

Departments: Center for Student Involvement, in collaboration with Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and Campus Recreation Sport Clubs

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) utilized a software called OrgSync to manage over 850 undergraduate and graduate student clubs and organizations. OrgSync was purchased by Campus Labs, a data collection and visualization software company that enables colleges and universities to make impactful, data-driven decisions, and CSI will be migrating to their new platform called Engage on December 18, 2017. Our campus-specific name is AggieLife, selected with feedback from hundreds of students to exemplify the technology in which student life at UC Davis will thrive. AggieLife has several new features and goes beyond student organizational management to support student success. This project strives to launch two additional departmental branches across the Division of Student Affairs in a collaboration to pilot various features of AggieLife. The AggieLife expansion proposal is connected to a one-year add-on to CSI’s existing contract now owned by Campus Labs. The additional products will be in operation one full year from the start of the add-ons.

The AggieLife expansion proposal not only responds to students seeking one virtual place to have access, engage with and promote all their co-curricular experiences but also provides a centralized platform for university administrators to connect students to meaningful and guided learning opportunities, easily manage and track students’ involvement and engagement, and showcase our impact on the student experience.

With active engagement of additional departments with AggieLife, this proposal will assist in enabling the campus to identify if cross-departmental utilization of AggieLife and its features are the best fit for UC Davis and its capability to achieve the following: 

  • Track and measure learning for student involvement in student groups and programs outside academic work.
  • Create a record-keeping system for students’ co-curricular accomplishments that maintains accurate and up-to-date records of student participation in co-curricular learning experiences and on-campus events designed and facilitated by campus partners.
  • Design and implement a cross-divisional framework using a tool called Paths to measure intentional learning experiences, such as first-year or capstone experiences, a leadership certificate or a student or staff training program.
  • Develop a system to centralize co-curricular student learning data.
  • Increased ability for staff to assess/evaluate the impact of student involvement.
  • Provide a service hour tracking tool for student organizations.

Crisis Text Line

Contact: Emilia Aguirre, MPH, CHES

Department: Student Health and Counseling Services

The Crisis Text Line (CTL) is a confidential, free and 24-hour messaging service for anyone who may be experiencing a crisis. The Crisis Text Line was launched nationally in August 2013 and since its launch, the service has exchanged more than 42 million conversations with roughly 75 percent of all texters below the age of 25 years old seeking support. With UC Davis students advocating for increased counseling support and facing high levels of stress, anxiety and other mental health problems, the Crisis Text Line will serve as a low-cost, intervention-based public health approach to increase help-seeking behavior and provide support for students in crisis.

The Student Success Innovation Grant will provide funding to raise awareness and build a campus community that prioritizes student mental health at UC Davis. Funding for this project will support effective strategies to reach the student population and serve as a preventative measure to reduce high-risk behavior, thus making an environmental impact in preventing suicidal attempts on our college campus. One death by suicide is one too many here at UC Davis, and with the Crisis Text Line project, students will have a non-judgmental, accessible and free support service available 24 hours a day.

Project CONNECT: Creating One Nurturing Network to Enhance Campus Togetherness

Contact: Raeann Davis

Departments: Health Education and Promotion and Counseling Services

Students who feel a sense of connection to their campus and community have been shown to have greater engagement and improved mental well-being. Project CONNECT is intended to increase social belonging on our campus among all UC Davis students and to build social support systems for students who need them the most—specifically students who are in recovery. In turn, Project CONNECT has the potential to positively impact retention and academic success.

Goals of Project CONNECT:

  1. Provide nightlife activities on campus that are not alcohol-centered, targeted to all UC Davis students.
  2. Support students in recovery from addiction and institutionalize support for recovery on our campus.
  3. Enrich the student experience and connection to our campus and community.

The project goals will be achieved through the following objectives:

  • Hire two student coordinators to (1) implement strategies to reach students in recovery and (2) plan and coordinate the nightlife activities/events.
  • Partner with campus departments to host three nightlife activities/events, each with a wellness theme:
    • Theme 1: Sexual well-being, sexual violence prevention, “Upstanders”
    • Theme 2: Mental well-being, alcohol and other drug use, recovery
    • Theme 3: Physical well-being, stress prevention, nutrition and physical activity

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR): A suicide prevention initiative for students

Contact: Renee Lopez

Department: Student Health and Counseling Services

Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) is a suicide prevention training created in 1995 by clinical psychologist Paul Quinnett and serves as an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal persons. QPR is not intended to be a form of counseling or therapy. Rather, it is intended to offer hope: to interrupt the crisis and direct the person in need to appropriate resources (Quinnett, 2013).

QPR at UC Davis provides students with the tools that will empower them to ask tough questions about suicide risk, persuade others to get help and refer them to the appropriate resources (Quinnett, 2013). QPR at UC Davis provides opportunities for successful collaboration between students and campus partners, highlighting how this relationship enhances a community of care on campus.

UC Davis currently has a pool of 20 QPR certified Gatekeeper Instructors on campus. This group includes staff members from Counseling Services, including Community Advising Network (CAN) Community Counselors and clinical staff members, Health Education and Promotion, Student Academic Success Center and Residence Life. Strategically, our QPR instructors aim to provide QPR training to the students working with their respective departments. For example, CAN provides training to all their partner units.

At each UC Davis QPR training session, a QPR resource booklet is given to each participant. In an attempt to strengthen our suicide prevention initiative on campus and remain consistent with our deliverables, more QPR resource booklets are needed. As of November 20, 2017, we have 261 booklets in our inventory. At present, we have trained 564 members of our campus community, primarily students.

We have the opportunity to provide QPR training to hundreds of first-year students in the College of Biological Sciences, student campus tutors and, potentially, student-athletes, Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and First-Year Aggie Connection students. We have already established some inroads with Residence Life and trained 144 new resident advisors during their 2017 pre-fall quarter training. Increasing the QPR booklet inventory will make it possible to offer this training to more students on campus. Additionally, we aim to introduce future student engagement geared toward building campus wellness partnerships with enhanced community awareness of mental health resources and suicide prevention skills.

Study Skills Conference

Contacts: Annalisa Teixeira, Raynell Hamilton

Department: Advising and Retention Services – Student Academic Success Center

Study skills play a fundamental role in academic competence and achievement (Gettinger and Seibert, 2002). In particular, evidence-based learning principles can aid students in making study sessions as effective as possible (Dunlosky et al., 2013). This one-day conference at the start of spring quarter 2018 will allow students to engage with multiple hands-on workshop topics designed to help them take hold of their academic success. In one Saturday, students will reflect on and make improvements to their study system: the environment, tools, resources, strategies and people available to them as they work hard to master course material. The curriculum, spanning topics like time management, focus and concentration, maximizing lectures, test preparation and test taking will challenge students to name their study strategies, behaviors and habits and vocalize what needs changing and what is working.

This conference will be available to all students, but outreach to students who are not making minimum progress or whose GPA is just above or below 2.0 will be a particular priority. To assess the impact of the conference, attendees will take a Learning and Study Skills Inventory (LASSI) assessment pre- and post-conference, and spring GPA and unit progress will be tracked. Upon successful participation of the conference, students will be eligible for five hours of private tutoring and receive a Passion Planner to support their time management, goal setting and self-accountability.

Unity in Diversity Series

Contacts: Kayton Carter, Dr. Cirilo Cortez, Michelle Villegas-Frazier, Ron Bynes; Dr. Lina Mendez, Dr. Kawami Evans

Departments: Center for African Diaspora Student Success, Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success, Native American Academic Student Success Center, Financial Aid and Scholarships Office

This project will provide and develop a celebratory occasion to highlight the academic excellence and achievement of our Chicanx and Latinx, African American and Native American scholars. This diversity event will help to build a culture on campus that creates pathways for diverse students to be inspired to achieve and be recognized for their educational accomplishments. In addition, this project will be to invest in each student's success, sense of belonging and cultural competency. In celebrating their undergraduate academic achievement at UC Davis, scholars will feel acknowledged and institutionally committed to continuing their higher education beyond UC Davis. By having this event, our campus will foster communities of belonging among underrepresented scholars. The project will promote a brave space for our diverse scholars to engage and learn from each other. This project is a series of two events, one in winter 2018 and one in spring 2018.

Both events aim to bring together approximately 200 participants representing the Chicanx/Latinx, African diaspora, and Native American communities to celebrate unity within diversity, and provide students with resources and strategies to have productive dialogue on campus and in the community. A panel of speakers will share their experience and expertise in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

The second event will address the need to create spaces on campus to highlight and recognize our success as a diverse body of scholars. It will enhance the objectives of the retention centers/initiatives to expand our commitment (beyond retention) to students who exhibit academic excellence, scholarship and dedication.