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About the RiSE Initiative

Since 2008, AU’s student body has become more diverse in terms of race, culture, geography, family income, academic preparation, and prior experience. As such, the university’s student support network faces new and significant challenges, including social acclimation, homesickness, depression, and anxiety as well as financial aid and academic preparedness. While facing these challenges, AU has managed to hold freshman-to-sophomore retention at approximately 90%. Unfortunately, a siloed student service model--one that is all too common in higher education—has hampered AU’s efforts to further improve retention.

In light of the changing demographics of the undergraduate student body, the University as a whole—inclusive of Campus Life, Academic Affairs, Enrollment Services, schools and colleges, and business units— should carefully consider how best to support the more diverse student body and ensure that its engagement in AU’s special opportunities, sense of belonging, degree of satisfaction, and retention and graduation rates is carefully monitored and regularly assessed.

The work of the RiSE Task Force is unprecedented in AU’s history and represents a scope not previously undertaken by any college or university. We invite members of the AU community to use this site to learn more about the task force; track the progress of the project; and interact with the task force as they address pressing questions relating to the needs of our students and service delivery. Watch for invitations to town hall and other meetings as well as communications containing project updates.