Ichabod Success Institute becomes Excelencia Award finalist


The Ichabod Success Institute is designed to help students transition from high school into college life. The program started on July 1 for each of the four years that it has been around. Students are recommended by different Topeka public schools, specifically if they are first generation students, if they [Topeka public schools] feel like students need help transitioning with the latter part of their education.

There’s a maximum of twenty students accepted each year but for the 2019-2020 year, nineteen students were accepted into the program. “While the program does start in the summer, we continue to have significant connection with students through their first two years,” said James Barraclough, director of undergraduate initiatives and student success.

This being the fourth year of the institute being run, eleven of the original twenty, have received their associates degree.

“The collective GPA is above a 3.0. We track them pretty closely. We track students success through student involvement and try to get a sense of engagement,” said Dr. Bearman, dean of university libraries and the Center for Student Success and Retention.

Ben Guerra-Arreola, a senior Kinesiology Major, said, “Being a student, coming to college as a first generation student, it was kind of scary and stressful because you [as a student] don’t know what to expect.”

This previous year the organization was recognized as a 2019 Examples of Excelencia Award finalist. The Ichabod Success Institute was recognized for the Examples of Excelencia effort that brings attention to evidence-based practices that work for Latino students in higher education. The Institute was one of sixteen finalists selected out of the one hundred and sixty-six nominated. Those nominated came from thirty-two different states, including D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Now into the Ichabod Success Institute’s fourth year, they have been recognized with an award for half the time they’ve been an organization.

“We were recognized by University Business Magazine two years ago for the Models of Excellence Award, for transitioning first generation students,” said Bearman.

“We were also listed as one of the universities to watch,” said Barraclough.

The Ichabod Success Institute has proven to be a very effective way to transition first generation students into the college academic community. The (up to) twenty students can earn six credit hours in the month of July while they work towards getting adjusted to college life. With the many awards the Institute has accumulated over the past four years, students that participate in the Ichabod Success Institute come out with a good understanding of what a University Academic community is about.

Edited by Adam White, Jessica Galvin, Brianna Smith