History Partners with ‘Accelerate Student Achievement Program’ to Help Arkansas Delta Students Succeed

by | Aug 13, 2019 | Community Outreach, Diversity & Inclusion, Outreach & Impact, Statewide Impact, Student Success

The U of A Department of History and the Accelerate Student Achievement Program cemented a new partnership this summer to help first-generation and Pell-eligible students from the Arkansas Delta accelerate academic success, college completion, and career readiness.

“We are excited to welcome and support a diverse group of students in their head start to college at the U of A,” said Don Nix, director of the university’s ASAP Bridge Program and 360 Advising. “ASAP is designed to help students in their transition from high school to college, academically and otherwise, through an early opportunity to take classes, navigate campus and build community.”

Twenty-four ASAP scholars enrolled in a specially-designed modern American History course in July 2019, taught by Justin Gage of the Department of History.

“Dr. Gage was the perfect candidate for this course,” said James Gigantino, professor and chair of the Department of History. “A first-generation college graduate and native Arkansan, Justin graduated from the University of Arkansas. This fall, his students will literally begin to walk the walk that Justin completed in his own academic career. After teaching introductory courses at Arkansas for almost the last 10 years, Dr. Gage is one of our top instructors, someone who can really help students succeed.”

The history department worked with the leaders of the ASAP program not only to identify candidates for Gage’s course but to also shape the course to help students succeed.

In addition, Gage has conducted a significant amount of advising to students outside of the classroom, working with them at twice-weekly lunches and informally advising them on their futures here on campus.

All ASAP Scholars earn the opportunity to complete three courses during a summer session before their freshman year. The scholars enroll in a one-hour course designed to improve successful college transition and completion while also completing Gage’s course and another freshman-level course.

They will continue to receive priority advising and course registration throughout their first and second years on campus. As sophomores and beyond, these scholars will be encouraged to serve as leaders and mentors to their younger peers.

A version of this story also appeared in the U of A’s Newswire publication.

Jim Gigantino II

Associate Professor, Department of History 

479-575-7332 // jgiganti@uark.edu