First-in-the-World Project: Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Student Success (MAAPS)

UCR is one of 11 cooperating institutions that have been funded by the Department of Education’s “First-in-the-World” fund to engage in innovative projects related to student success.

The project is entitled “Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Student Success” (MAAPS). The project focuses on intensive advising and is designed as a random control experiment. Two new advisors will be hired to work with first-generation and Pell eligible students, groups who are generally found to be at-risk for non-completion at the university. Students will be randomly assigned by an external evaluator to the control and treatment groups. Students in the control group will receive standard advising services. Students in the treatment group will be monitored on a weekly basis and will have regular interactions with their advisors. Some information will be recorded in major maps for all students each term to track progress toward their degree. The goal of the project is to determine whether and how much difference intensive advising interventions can make in the success of at-risk students on college campuses. Student success is defined by retention, progress toward degree, and grades relative to students in the control group. The project will run over a three year period and will involve the fall 2016 freshmen cohort.

The cooperation of 11 universities pursuing the same project simultaneously using the same design and data definitions is a unique aspect of the MAAPS project. The cooperating institutions are all members of University Innovation Alliance and include: Arizona State University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Kansas University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Purdue University, University of Central Florida, and the University of Texas-Austin in addition to UCR.

Timothy Renick of Georgia State University is the MAAPS project lead. At UCR Jennifer Brown, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, is the Principal Investigator on the UCR campus and Project Lead for UCR campus. Steven Brint, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy Sociology, is the Co-Investigator on the UCR campus. Scott Heil, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Institutional Research, is the Data Lead, and Barbra Wallace, the Director of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Undergraduate Academic Advising Center, is the Advising Lead.

Timothy Renick
Timothy Renick
Georgia State University,
MAAPS Project Lead
Jennifer Brown
Jennifer Brown
Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education
Principal Investigator on the UCR campus
Steve Brint
Steve Brint
Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy Sociology
Scott Heil
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Institutional Research
Data Lead
Barbra Wallace
Barbra Wallace
Director of CNAS Undergraduate
Academic Advising Center Advising Lead


  • What is the University Innovation Alliance?

    The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) is a consortium of 11 large public research universities committed to graduating an additional 68,000 graduates by 2020. The group is committed to regaining the U.S.’s economic competitive edge by helping more students—from all backgrounds—graduate with a high-quality and affordable education.

    The 11 UIA universities represent 6% of the total undergraduate population of all public 4-year schools in the U.S., 10% of undergraduates at doctoral research institutions, and 18% in the “very high research” segment.

  • How is the University Innovation Alliance unique?

    This is the first time a group of large, public, research universities has self-organized across state and conference lines specifically to test and scale solutions designed to increase retention and graduation rates in higher education.

    The UIA represents 389,713 undergraduate students, of which approximately 30% are Pell recipients.

  • What is the "First in World" grant program?

    “First in the World” is a Federal grant program funded by the Department of Education. The program is designed to “validate” interventions that have been shown by previous research to be effective in helping at-risk student populations succeed in college. Both the study proposed for the grant and the study on which it is based must meet Federal “What Works Clearinghouse” standards, meaning that the study must be conducted using a Randomized Control Trial and meet other standards for research rigor.

  • What is MAAPS?

    MAAPS stands for Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success and is the “First in the World” project of the University Innovation Alliance. The project will track the impact of a series of analytics-informed proactive interventions on 10,000 low-income and/or first-generation students across the eleven UIA universities over the next three years.

  • Why is MAAPS important?

    The Federal “What Works Clearinghouse” currently has only one study on the effects of academic advising on post-secondary outcomes. This means that, while hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on advising by American colleges and universities every semester, we have very little validated knowledge of which advising practices are more or less effective.

    The one study on academic advisement that currently exists in the “What Works Clearinghouse” involves on a single institution. MAAPS will be the first validated study of the impacts of academic advisement across multiple universities. It will also build upon the strength of our institutions as research universities.

  • Why must we adjust our advising practices and tracking as a part of MAAPS?

    A major reason that no cross-institutional study of advising currently meets “What Works Clearinghouse” standards is that our campuses have typically collected little tracking data about the types of advising interventions being deployed and the outcomes produced by these interventions. There are no documented instances in which tracking data and outcomes have been collected in a uniform manner across universities. As a strict condition of our receiving grant funding, the Federal government requires that each funded campus collect and record data in a rigorous and uniform manner.

    It is important to note that the MAAPS study does not involve a control group in the typical sense of the term. In other words, no student on any campus will receive less that the current levels of advising support on his or her campus, but students randomly selected for the MAAPS interventions will receive more than the current practices.