ADVANCE receives national award for enhancing the student transition experience

ADVANCE students posing with ADVANCE signage
First generation ADVANCE students (left to right): Diego Ortega, Alexa Fuentes Molina and Marco Franco.

by Angelina Jarrouj

George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) were honored with the 2019 John N. Gardner Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition Award for their innovative partnership ADVANCE.

The award, presented by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition, recognizes cross-institutional initiatives that aim to enhance the student transition experience at the undergraduate level.

Now in its second year, ADVANCE is redefining the transfer experience for almost 700 students who will make the journey from NOVA to Mason. Streamlined admissions, defined curricular pathways, success coaching and wraparound student support are making it easier and more affordable for students to earn degrees.

“ADVANCE is receiving tremendous recognition because of its potential to transform the way higher ed institutions collaborate for student success,” said Ashlie Prioleau, executive director of ADVANCE. “Not only is it breaking down transfer barriers for students, but is also creating more streamlined internal processes across NOVA and Mason that ultimately benefit the student.”

The John N. Gardner Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition Award is named in honor of the individual who first envisioned and created the National Resource Center at the University of South Carolina.

“John’s work has always been focused on assisting institutions in making changes to better support their first-year and other students in transition,” said Jennifer Keup, Director of the National Resource Center. “Countless students have persisted at colleges and universities because of the influence and impact of the courses and programs that he created, championed, and inspired through personal interactions and Center-sponsored events and resources.”

“Mason and NOVA are honored to be receiving this award,” said Prioleau. “Our institutions have a long and impressive history of collaboration. In many ways, ADVANCE is a culmination of our efforts to support transfer students and ease some of the transitional barriers they experience. Together we are building what we believe is a national model for dramatically expanding educational access and helping students succeed throughout their academic journey and beyond.”

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