Creative Inquiries for Student Success & Retention

Student success is the responsibility of no one person or department. It is something that every member of the UA community must play a role in creating and maintaining. Undergraduate student success is influenced by academic, socio-cultural, financial, and psychological/wellness factors. It takes multifaceted programs and supports addressing these factors throughout the University to help students thrive. Our best work for student success occurs when we approach the work as scholarly-practitioners and ask evidence-based questions to prompt further development. This new program invites diverse teams to develop creative inquiries to explore localized retention problems.


What are the unique local, retention challenges in your academic unit, program, or support center? Is there one class that seems to derail students? Is there a policy in your department that has an adverse effect on persistence? Is there a non-cognitive skill that you think might support the students in your area? Is there an identifiable strength among one program you think could aid another?

The Creative Inquiries for Student Success & Retention programs, supported by the University’s Strategic Plan, will provide funding to help teams design and execute a creative inquiry to address a retention challenge in your area.

Please note: This is not funding for programming. It is funding to bring diverse teams together to (A) explore complex, localized retention problems, (B) advance scholarly-practitionership, (C) make evidence-based recommendations, and (D) disseminate lessons learned from inquiry.

To apply, you must:

  1. Gather an inquiry team who can contribute diverse perspectives. The team must include at least one student, a faculty member, an academic advisor, and a staff member working in a student service or support program such as Admissions, Financial Aid, Think Tank, cultural centers, Campus Life, etc.
  2. Identify a research question addressing academic, socio-cultural, financial, and psychological/wellness factors influencing retention.
  3. Design a creative inquiry to address your research question.
  4. Conduct an inquiry within an established time frame.
  5. Develop recommendations based on your findings.
  6. Create a dissemination plan to share recommendations and findings across campus as well as through academic and professional venues such as regional or national meetings, conferences, and publications. GRANT RECIPIENTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PRESENT AT THE ANNUAL STUDENT SUCCESS CONFERENCE ON CAMPUS.
  7. Commit to serving as a reviewer for the next round of program funding.

You may request as little as $500 for your inquiry or as much as $25,000. The number of projects funded will be based on the number of applications submitted and the potential of inquiries to shed light on a critical issue that could improve undergraduate retention and degree completion. Funding can be used for:

  • Research materials, tools, data collection, or incentives
  • Faculty course release, graduate assistantships, staff compensation
  • Expenses to disseminate findings and recommendations such as on-campus meeting expenses, research poster printing, and conference travel

Purpose of the Grant

This grant program seeks to promote collaboration between UA faculty, staff and students to solve problems or explore experiences influencing student success and make recommendations for improvement. Consequently, a result of this joint participation will aid in raising graduation and retention rates while answering pertinent questions pertaining to student persistence and overall success.

Program Outline

Awards will go to Creative Inquiry Teams to provide assessment based answers to persistence and graduation questions. Through CI Teams, persistence and/or graduation challenges will be explored with an ultimate goal of identifying recommendations for policy, program, or curriculum enhancements to support student success. CI Teams must include faculty, academic advisors, student success professionals, and undergraduate students to encourage collaboration and ensure that the research question will be considered from as many perspectives and experiences. CI Teams will need to make a commitment of one to two years to the program; one semester or year will be spent working on their research project and the following semester will be spent serving on the CI Grant Committee providing service and support for the following application cycle. Note that the committee will only be accepting one complete application per CI Team.


Creative Inquiries Application

Creative Inquiries Application

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In the first year of the program, awards will be selected by strategic plan partners. In subsequent years, prior award winners will help select the next set of projects.


If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Candace Jones or Nina Kaur at