CTN Leadership Fellows from ACC, Ariel Flores and Vidal Almanza, presented at the TEXAAN Conference held on February 23rd.  Their presentation was titled “Building Retention through Connection” and part of the presentation featured the Ascender program.  

Participants learned about the importance that community plays in the retention of first-generation students via the Ascender program at Austin Community College. First-generation students have the opportunity to participate in the national award-winning Ascender program, which serves as a strong transition from high school to college via strengthening students writing skills, mentorship, building community, and other events. This program is further enhanced with the ACC Coaching Method combined with holistic advising done by ACC Advisors. Programs such as Ascender help establish a sense of belonging which is crucial for retaining minority first-generation students. The presentation explored the success of the program by utilizing three key components: connection and engagement via community building, implementing academic alerts and cultivating relationships with both Advising and Faculty. Attendees gained a better understanding of these three key components that help first-generation minority students be successful.

The annual TEXAAN conference provides professionals with the opportunity to participate general sessions from experts in the field, gain knowledge and review best practices. The annual conference also provides poster sessions, exhibitor presentations and formal and informal networking opportunities.

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