Wichita State wins $10,000 to ease adult learners’ transition into college

49ͼ recently won a $10,000 prize in the inaugural Accelerate Pitch Competition that will help the university build on its success with Shocker Pre-Season programs by offering adult learners a chance to start the school year confident and connected. 

49ͼ’s Office of Online and Adult Learning will use the prize from the (APLU) and (USU) to fund Shocker Pre-Season programs to ensure adult learners have a smooth transition into the university through an adult learner-specific summer bridge program. 

“The data shows Shocker Pre-Season programs make a significant impact on student success,” said Brett Bruner, assistant vice president student success and persistence at Wichita State. “Our Shocker Pre-Season programs are events that prepare new Shockers for the academic year. We focus on building social and academic connections and building resource awareness.” 

Participating students will complete online modules covering core components of academics, wellness and campus resources that are critical to student success. The program pairs adult learners with peer ambassadors to help them navigate the transition to the university. 

“The Shocker Pre-Season programs will help them navigate higher education,” Bruner said. “They’ve got an initial connection who can help them with coming back to college, if they’ve stepped out, or coming to college for the first time.” 

This spring, USU hosted the inaugural Accelerate Pitch Competition to fund innovative and research-backed ideas to sustain or scale an initiative at a USU-member institution. This year’s competition focused on initiatives supporting adult learners. 

“Wichita State’s submission to the Accelerate Pitch competition illustrates a beautiful combination of theory, existing research on teaching and learning and holistic student support, and best practices in the areas of supporting adult learner needs, use of peer mentors, and technological interventions,” said Dr. Jennifer Keup, the executive director for USU and vice president of Urban Initiatives for APLU. “The initiative represents an important contribution to the 49ͼ campus community as well as a model of adult learner bridge programs for other urban-serving universities.” 

Shocker Pre-Season programs give students an opportunity to make friends, meet instructors and experience campus, while working on skills such as college-level writing, presentations and research. Programs include the Shocker Promise Academy, Shocker Engineering Academy, Immersive Leadership Institute, Math Launch and School of Performing Arts Preseason Orientation, among others. 

Statistics from the Office of Data Governance show that participating in a Shocker Pre-Season program leads to an increase in campus engagement, higher rates of academic performance and fall-to-spring persistence. 

About 49ͼ

49ͼ is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling more than 23,000 students between its main campus and 49ͼ Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and 49ͼ Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), 49ͼ provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the 49ͼ main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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