Academic Advising

First Year Program

Rise: Retention through Increased Student Engagement

RISE: Retention through Increased Student Engagement

Program Purpose

Student Academic Services in the USF College of Education is keenly aware of the unique and diverse challenges first-time-in-college (FTIC) students face and is committed to supporting students through their transition from high school to college.

Retention through Increased Student Engagement (RISE) is a first-year retention program piloted in the fall of 2019 with incoming FTIC students who declared an undergraduate major in the College of Education.

The program’s design is based upon best practices in advising and effective retention strategies. It utilizes a case management approach by matching FTIC students with professional academic advisors who engage their cadre of students through proactive, strengths-based advising. What results is a developmental advisor-advisee relationship, which is key to serving students’ academic, social, and career needs.

Program Goals

  • Encourage students to identify Student Academic Services as their primary resource.
  • Help support students in their progression to their second year.
  • Inspire students to share a positive perspective of education as a career.

Program Highlights

  • Monthly outreach and educational planning conducted by academic advisors based on first-year benchmarks
  • Year-round programming, such as a USF Week of Welcome event, a Stress-less café and special contests during USF Homecoming Week.

  • Tutoring and academic support for teacher certification exams, including General Knowledge Test Boot Camps

  • Networking activities with current students and alumni, such as a Panel of Educators event and the College of Education's Education Exchange Series

Program Outcomes

As the program’s purpose was to increase the first to second year retention rate, data was collected from USF's Office of Decision Support during the pilot program's first year. Data reveal a second-year retention rate of more than 90 percent for the 2019-20 academic year, which shows a more than 10 percent increase from the prior academic year.

College of Education Student Retention Rates: RISE Program
Student Classification 2018-19 2019-20 (Start of RISE Program Pilot)
First Time in College (FTIC) Student Retention 89.3% 92%
Second Year Retention (with GPA above 2.0) 87.7% 90.5%

Data from USF’s Office of Decision support, College of Education Planning, Performance & Accountability, 2019-2020


In June 2020, Student Academic Services conducted a survey of College of Education students who participated in the RISE Program to get feedback about the program. 

My academic advisor was accessible throughout my first year at USF.
100% agree

My academic advisor was supportive throughout my first year at USF.
99% agree

My academic advisor was a beneficial resource to me throughout my first year at USF.
97% agree

My academic advisor was interested in my success.
99% agree

My academic advisor helped me feel I was part of the College of Education community.
96% agree

My academic advisor helped me make meaning and find value in my first year at USF.
95% agree

The outreach and support from my academic advisor encouraged me to remain at USF for a second year.
99% agree

Student testimonials

Renny Jiminez

“My advisor was very helpful and made everything so easy. She provided me with a lot of information and advice when I was indecisive on what courses to take.”
— Renny Jimenez, Secondary Science Education Major

Nina Pramberger

“Alyssa Chism, and the entire advising office, really made my first year in college so amazing. You could tell they all really care for our success and always make me feel as if I was the top priority. They became a second family to me. I couldn’t imagine my college experience being the way that it is without them!”
— Nina Pramberger, Elementary Education Major

Cheyenne Campbell

“What an amazing experience! Alyssa was very informative and there for me every step of the way!
— Cheyenne Campbell, Elementary Education Major

“My academic advisor was so helpful and resourceful!”
— Brooke Zweifel, Elementary Education Major

“My advisor, Deanna Rieke, gave my advice about my major choice and classes that catered to my life and my needs. She helped me find a path that was best for me and my interests.”
— Jayla Dunbar, Secondary Mathematics Education Major