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Freshman College Gets $2.2 Million in State Funding

June 26, 2015

Angelo State University’s Freshman College got a vote of confidence from the Texas Legislature after Gov. Greg Abbott over the weekend approved a line item in the state budget allocating $2.2 million over two years to the innovative program. 

ASU President Brian J. MayASU President Brian J. MayLaunched in the fall of 2012 under the leadership of ASU President Brian J. May, who was then provost, the Freshman College’s mission is to improve students’ undergraduate experience with particular emphasis on their first year, through academic support, peer mentoring and learning communities. ASU has been funding the college with institutional enhancement funds.

“It’s a new concept for higher education but it’s all about student success,” May said. “I’m very appreciative of Gov. Greg Abbot, Rep. Drew Darby and Sen. Charles Perry for supporting this request.”

Dr. John Wegner, interim dean of the Freshman College and an English faculty member, said much of the state funding will be spent on the centerpiece of the program, known as Signature Courses, paying faculty for adding to their teaching load and paying for additional peer mentors.

After a 2013 trial run, the Signature Courses were launched this past fall as a requirement for all freshmen. The eight-week courses are offered in a wide variety of topics, from equestrian sports to zombies, all with key study skills embedded, such as time management and research techniques. The courses also help students make friends who share these interests. 

“We know if we make a small investment on the front end, we’ll have a big payoff: more graduates with better grades,” Wegner said.

The Freshman College also works in cooperation with ASU’s academic colleges and administrative offices to ensure success for all students. The college is home to: 

  • Academic Support Centers, including workshops in study skills and tutoring in writing, mathematics and other subjects to freshmen and any other student needing assistance.
  • Early Alert Program to identify students who may need intervention and support to get back on track academically at any point.
  • Honors Program for academically talented and motivated students.
  • Predeclared Advising to help students explore ASU’s degree offerings, assess their academic goals and identify a course of study.