University of South Florida


USF Selected to Serve as National Mentor Institution

Several students sit talking on the sign for USF Tampa.

Credit: Laura Lyon, University of South Florida.

In a collaborative effort led by the Foundation for Student Success (FSS), the University of South Florida (USF) will serve as a national mentor to three institutions across the country, aiming to share best practices for closing the graduation gap among black, Latino and American Indian undergraduate students.

Selected for its success in building a strategic approach to student persistence, progression and graduation, USF will work with three demographically similar mentee institutions: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, New Mexico State University and Augusta University.  USF is one of seven institutions chosen to serve as mentors in the effort to promote social mobility that the FSS expects to have an impact on approximately 100,000 students nationwide.

FSS Executive Director Sally Johnstone formally introduced the mentorship program this week at the first annual National Student Success Conference, hosted by USF. The conference brings together innovators and innovations transforming student success programs, policies and practices across the country.

“There are many national projects to support institutional transformations for student success,” Johnstone said. “But the work of the Foundation for Student Success is more personal than most. These mentor institutions are sharing their successes and failures while ‘holding the hands’ of their mentees as they begin their long journey to shift their campus cultures.”

Over the past decade, USF has prioritized student success in a series of university-wide efforts that have resulted in unparalleled achievements in higher education. In 2017, the Education Trust recognized USF as the No. 1 public university in the nation for Latino student success and No. 6 in the nation for black student success (No. 1 in Florida).

“Student success at USF is a founding principle and institutional commitment designed to create a positive teaching and learning environment, and enrich all aspects of the student experience while ensuring that every student who enters USF has the opportunity to succeed,” according to USF Vice President for Student Affairs and Student Success Paul Dosal.  “We look forward to sharing our story with other institutions to help their students find similar success.”

Mentors will work with their assigned institutions for a period of two years.  The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, which is home to the Foundation for Student Success, will continue to track the institutions working together toward reducing equity gaps and changing the culture of their campuses, with the lessons learned shaping the future of the student success for years to come.

About the Foundation for Student Success

The Foundation for Student Success was founded in 2016 and is housed at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) in Boulder, Colorado. The mission of FSS is to stimulate and support the use of predictive analytics and other emerging technologies to help institutions of higher education identify at-risk students and to develop interventions to increase their chances of success.

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