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Honors-student boost sought at UT

The University of Toledo's new main campus five-year strategic plan released Monday seeks to increase the school's number of honors students and at the same time create a new program to help “under-prepared students” make it through to graduation.

Scott L. Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said UT will create “portals” for different types of students, including those who need remedial help.

Incoming students will be assigned to a portal, Mr. Scarborough said.

“We serve well-prepared students and the portal that usually they would be coming through would be the Honors College,” he said. “We serve large numbers of under-prepared students and we are talking about creating a portal college called University College that would be focused on providing the type of education experience that segment of students needs, beginning to end.”

Mr. Scarborough said the university is not seeking to increase its numbers of under-prepared students – many of whom need high school level help.

The percentage of students who dropped out last academic year was not available Monday.

“What we are trying to do is to essentially use this University College portal to use some of the new assessment tools and teaching tools we didn't have 10 years ago and concentrate on doing a better job with those students,” he said.

The strategy is not meant to siphon students away from community colleges, Mr. Scarborough said.

UT is also hoping to address the different needs of online students and adult students over the age of 25.

The strategic plan took 90 days to complete after it was massaged by faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, and students.

Part of the plan is focused on attracting more higher-performing students.

“We are predicting if we do it well, it will grow the university... We really want to grow it in the number of well-prepared students,” Mr. Scarborough said.

Future marking for UT could center around its strategy of attracting more honors students.

“We already attract large numbers of under-prepared students. We just need to do a better job of getting them to the finish line,” Mr. Scarborough said. “What we want to do is to balance that out by attracting larger numbers of well-prepared adult and online students.”

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