June 5-7, 2017

University of California, Irvine

Irvine, California


Implicit Knowledge, University Culture, & Successful Transitions –

Overcoming Challenges for First Generation, Transfer, and International Students

There is an increasingly widespread recognition that many of the most significant challenges in promoting increased engagement, learning, and persistence to graduation in research universities can be traced to the experiences and backgrounds of students that go well beyond their academic preparation. A growing body of evidence suggests that understanding how to navigate the culture of the U.S. research university is critical to student success. The challenge is that significant aspects of this culture are implicit, and without specific interventions, students who are not aware of this implicit culture face hidden institutional barriers to success.

The challenges created by the critical impact of variations in awareness of this implicit culture and how to navigate it are particularly significant for first generation, non-traditional, and international students.  At the same time, exactly because the culture of research universities is so deeply embedded as to be implicit rather than visible, its effects on students are often overlooked by the people who are most used to navigating within it – university faculty and staff.  Consequently, rather than seeing institutional barriers to learning and persistence to completion, many faculty and staff see instead deficiencies in the students—either in a lack of academic preparation or background.

UC Irvine is over 50% first generation, and in the last five years, its international student population has grown from just a few percent of the student body to almost 20%. Another key element of the UC System is the close integration with community colleges that results in roughly one-third of the admitted students each year being transfer students. Our experience with these populations has touched multiple areas of academic support programs.  The goal of the conference is to share those experiences and then use that local set of experiences as the foundation for a broad-ranging discussion among members of the UVP Network about the role of implicit knowledge in the academic success of students at research universities.

A note about the UVP Network

The UVP Network is composed of faculty administrators who, while having many different titles, share a distinctive role: all-University administrative responsibility for undergraduate education. The UVP Network has come to play a central role, along with the Board and Executive Director, in identifying the topics and issues the Collaborative focuses on in distinctive periods.


Monday, June 5 —Pre-Conference Events


2:00-5:00        Board Meeting (Board members only)

The Duke Hotel Newport Beach, Catalina Board Room


6:30                 Welcome Dinner hosted by UCI Chancellor

Tierney House, University Hills

                        Shuttles will depart hotel at 5:45 pm.      

Tuesday, June 6—UVP Network Meeting

UCI Student Center, Pacific Ballroom A &  B


6:30-8:00        Hot Breakfast Available for UVP Network Meeting Attendees

The Duke Hotel Newport Beach, Sequoia Ballroom


8:00-8:30        Travel to UCI Student Center and Check-In—Shuttles departs The Duke Hotel at 8:00 am. There will be an additional shuttle at 8:15 am.


8:30-9:00        Welcome and Introductions, Overview of Conference Theme

Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education

Alan Lamborn, Executive Director, Reinvention Collaborative

Mike Mullen, President and Board Chair, Reinvention Collaborative

Integrated Student Academic Success Programs

9:00-10:15      Session 1–Addressing the Various Academic Needs and Goals of UCI’ Unique Student Populations in Student Success Efforts

Kevin Huie, Director, Student Transition Services, UC Irvine

Sue Cross, Senior Learning Skills Counselor, Campus Writing Center, UC Irvine

Tracie Welser, Director, Learning & Academic Research Center, UC Irvine

Zahra Ahmed, Director, Civic & Community Engagement, UC Irvine


10:15               Break


10:30-11:45    Session 2—Table Discussions: Identifying Barriers

The UVPs at each table will identify areas of implicit knowledge that they believe produce significant barriers to academic success (45 minutes), followed by reporting out to the larger group and discussion (30 minutes).

11:45 – 12:45    Lunch


12:45 – 2:00      Tours: Student Services II, UCI Active Learning Classroom, & Engineering Design Projects


2:00 – 3:00      Session 3—Breaking Down Barriers and Bolstering First Generation Student Success in Research Universities

Steve Dandaneau, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, Kansas State University


3:00 – 3:15      Break


3:15 – 4:15      Session 4—Table Discussions: Identifying Solutions

The UVPs at each table will identify possible solutions to one or two of the previously identified barriers to academic success (30 minutes), followed by reporting out to the larger group and discussion (30 minutes).

4:15                 Buses depart for tour of UCI Applied Innovation at The Cove (31,000 sq. ft. of collaborative work and event space, located in University Research Park at UC Irvine for inventors, entrepreneurs, accelerators, and incubators). Tour will be followed by a reception.


4:30 – 6:00      Tour of Applied Innovation and Reception


6:30                 Dinner on your own (list of restaurants within walking distance of The Duke Hotel and at South Coast Plaza provided)—shuttle departs to South Coast Plaza at 6:30 pm, and returns to The Duke Hotel at 9:00 pm.  


Wednesday, June 7 —UVP Meeting

 The Duke Hotel Newport Beach, Sequoia Ballroom


7:15-8:45        Hot Breakfast


8:45-10:15      Session 5: Hot Topics

Members of the UVP Network are invited to come with specific issues or problems they would like to discuss with their colleagues.  An opportunity to both get advice and promote professional development within the Network.


10:15              Break


10:30             Business meeting


11:45              Adjourn. Hotel check-out is noon.