Stephanie Bain: AVID for Higher Education

AVID stands for advancement via individual determination. So avid originated in California, and a couple of the teachers said, You know what? We need to put something together, put some sort of organization to our high impact practices that we’re doing. We’re wanting to reach our students and what we’re doing is working and we want to expand that on. So it started in California, and then in 2011 it began to be implemented at the higher ED level. And Texas A&M University, Kingsville and Kingsville, Texas was one of the first higher ED institutions to take on this challenge of avid at a higher ed level. So that’s where I came in. In 2015, I took over as the Harvard liaison. And our goals, we sat down. We partnered with Avid, which is a nonprofit, and we said, Hey, you know, we want our students to be successful. We are Hispanic serving institutions. We have a service economically disadvantaged students. What can we do to help? So along with other administrators on campus and partnering with the College of Ed, the Center for Student Success, where at the time I was under that, I was the coordinator, the Harvard Liaison for CIT Center for Student Success. So there’s two sections of avid the student success side and the Teacher Prep initiative, and you’ll hear me talk about teacher prep because it’s doing here. But on our student success side, we began to reorganize. Oh wait, I should say they began to reorganize. Maybe so they began to reorganize their entire thought process on First-Year Seminar and transitioning students from high school to college. So it’s a great process, and the university actually experienced retention rates rising in 2011, as was. It just added it wasn’t just student success, it was a university of whole. And just planning those seeds of professional development and that support system, that circle of care for our students in any university. But retention rates raised from 55% to 70%, and that’s a fall, excuse me, spring to fall growth, which is huge from 2011 to 2019 and a fall to spring up to 91% retention. So we know it works. Obviously, you want to build that relationship with everyone on campus because it is a group effort and developing those relationships with your students, your faculty, giving them professional developments. I think a lot of times when you go into education, you think, Well, I’m a teacher and I know everything already. That’s not the case. We always have to be excelling and revisiting what we’re doing on a daily basis. So with Avid, that helped us kind of organize. I need to go back, help them. I still think of it as an insistence that it helped. Tim Cook spoke with a Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University, Kingsville. It helped them kind of reorganize and really put put that step forward with with transitioning these students from high school to college. So I say all that because in 2019. Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Tamou. You’ll hear it, Colt became the first four year national demonstration site for Avid in the summer. I believe there’s over normally 40,000. This is pre-COVID. 40,000 teachers that would go to the summer institutes that avid puts on, and that’s K-12. So we are A&M International. We here we are one of 40 higher ed institutions now that have been recognized as a licensed avid for higher ed school. So we just became that. But to to go back quickly with A&M Kingsville, it was such a huge accomplishment because there had not been a demonstration national demonstration for a four year university and it was a rigorous process. But at the end of it, we got that. They got that distinction and I was there at the time as the liaison and that was such such a rewarding experience. So with that, I stayed on as a liaison and then I heard about an opportunity in here in Laredo.

And so, you know, I I prayed about it and I thought about it and I said, You know what? I’m going to take that leap of faith. So I met with Dean O’Meara and another faculty member and the associate dean at the time, Dr. Ramirez, and we really just had a conversation. They were very interested in Navid. And as you all know, here here at TAMIU College, ed me, and there’s so many amazing things going on. I’m sure you’ve heard about quality matters and the rigorous process that is to get our courses certified in that. And our instructors, our faculty members certified that it’s very rigorous process. But so I began to put here, Timmy, you called Ed through this process. Now, obviously, a demonstration site is down the road and certainly one of our goals. But what distinguishes us is that we’re the only A&M system besides A&M Kingsville that is an avid for higher ed school. But what separates us even more now, whereas A&M Kingsville is student success side, we are the only teacher prep side active teacher at A&M Kingsville still has. I don’t know if you want to put this in there, but they do still have their teacher prep, but it’s not really active. I should say an activity. I’d like to just clarify that because I don’t want to an active teacher prep and where where it took us a little while to let me back up. Sorry, I’m I’m trying to distinguish the two. Whereas A&M Kingsville took a little bit, it was new to them. So in 2011 it was a big shift and getting everyone on board with that here at Temu, we have been able to fast forward because there’s this stability and administrative support here and teacher prep and really this collaboration . We’ve gone from not being an avid licensed school, and we started this process in the end of August and last week we got the the go ahead that we have become an avid for higher ed or post-secondary institution along with 40 other institutions. So we’re really excited about that and we want to help our students. That’s number one. But we also want to collaborate with other universities and say, Hey, this is what we’re doing here in Laredo. This is what we want our students. We’re an international university. We want to give our students the opportunity to not just see here in South Texas, but to be able to go anywhere in the world and our teachers and say, Hey, you know what? I can recognize this teaching strategy here. I can help you with that. I can relate to this student because you’ve you’ve really had that foundation here. So we’re in a great, great spot before, before Christmas break. We’re so excited and we’re starting this new journey. So what that looks like for us next year is professional developments for our faculty so that we for our College of ED faculty so that everyone is certified and avid. So not only will our faculty be certified in quality matters, but we will be certified as avid. Faculty and teachers, so that just sets us apart from other institutions as well, because we’re all getting this this certification. And what that entails is a certain amount of professional development, a certain amount of success and just the the the example for our students of what we’re learning. So it’s not just, oh, we just show up, it’s the actual implementation in the classroom. So all of this goes back, you know, at the end of the day, we’re here at the university for our students and we are so blessed here at the college ed because we’re teaching future teachers and not only future teachers.

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