iBridge Program Opens University's Doors Early for Freshmen

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iBridge is a transitional program for underrepresented freshmen — including ethnic minorities, first-generation college students and those incoming from Arkansas counties who are underrepresented on campus — designed to build students’ skills and to increase their knowledge of and comfort with the college environment. Participants gain early entry to the campus environment and familiarize themselves with campus and get to know administrators, faculty and other freshmen to form a strong network of support. iBridge students also participate in activities and workshops that introduce them to the many academic support services offered on campus.

This year’s iBridge program is serving 60 students, its largest-ever cohort. iBridge students moved onto campus on Sunday, Aug. 10, and met with staff, faculty and current students at a welcome reception. The group began classes on Monday, Aug. 11. All participants have the opportunity to participate in the R.O.C.K. Camp, thanks to scholarship support provided by New Student and Family Programs in Student Affairs.

The program is overseen by College Access Initiative and the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education staff, who collaborate with several departments on campus to develop the program curriculum and activities.

“We appreciate the support we receive from Elias Dominguez Barajas, director of the Program in Rhetoric and Composition in the Department of English,” said Brande Flack-Armstrong, interim director of the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education. “We are happy to have new collaborations with the Science Department with a special thanks to Adnan Khalaf Alrubaya for assembling a team of instructors to provide a comprehensive lab science introduction; Dr. Korth, vice chair of the Math Department, and her team of instructors who designed a math ‘boot camp;’ and Anne Raines, associate director of the Enhanced Learning Center, who coordinated a group of instructors and tutors. Such collaborations with these departments demonstrate their ongoing commitment to diversity on campus and to our students’ success.”

“iBridge offers students an early introduction to the academic realities of being a college student,” said Charles Robinson, vice chancellor for diversity and community. “This program is a wonderful way for the university to better ensure that these students have successful progress in their academic journeys. Reducing this readiness gap can assist students in enhancing their success, improving their retention, and increasing graduation rates.”

Students attending iBridge will be supported throughout their university careers through the Academic Enrichment Program, which provides academic workshops, social programming and faculty/staff mentoring support.  




Erin Hensley,
Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education
479-575-8405, ehensle@uark.edu


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