Pointing the Way to Success
Article Originally published in the April 2006 issue of CLASnotes.
This August, the first group of students will be initiated into the Cooperative Academic Achievement Program, or CAAP, which hopes to improve the retention and graduation rates of Hispanic-Latino students at UF. The program was established and approved for funding in fall 2005, based on the success of CAAP’s sister program Pledging to Achieve Academic Competance Together (PAACT), which aides African-American students.
Initiated in 1998, PAACT provides academic support services and guidance to facilitate African-American students’ transition from high school to university. The retention rate of PAACT students by the end of their junior year in 2004 was 95 percent. That same year, the retention rate for non-PAACT African-American students by the end of their junior year was 62 percent. CAAP will use PAACT’s successful program model to improve the retention rate for Hispanic-Latino students.
The program’s first event, the CAAP Kickoff, will serve as an orientation for incoming Hispanic-Latino freshmen. Faculty speakers, campus tours and a scavenger hunt will introduce the students to important people and services on campus. “CAAP will take away students’ fears and intimidation and make them feel more comfortable with resources all over campus,” says Diana Armas, the coordinator of the program.
Students in the program will submit follow-up progress reports each semester, to allow CAAP to address any academic issues immediately, while giving students the initiative to communicate and form valuable mentor relationships with professors.
“I hope CAAP helps Hispanic-Latino students accomplish their goals at UF and leads to even more accomplishments in their lives after college,” Armas says.