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Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College-2023-FLEX (First-year learning experience)

Strategy/Project Name: 
FLEX (First-year learning experience)
Momentum Area: 
Strategy/Project Description: 

Academic Support decided to re-envision the AIM (Academic Intervention Management) program, implemented in 2012, to work with first-year students on academic probation after their first semester. The AIM program is considered reactive and doesn’t provide the “just in time” support many of our students need. A pilot of the FLEX program was run during the fall 2022 and the fall 2023 semesters alongside the AIM program. FLEX will scale and officially launch during the Fall 2024 semester and the AIM program will run each spring semester to work with first-time students on academic probation.

During the pilot program, FLEX was for incoming first-year students below a 3.2 high school GPA (HSGPA). These identified students were invited to participate in the FLEX program. The FLEX program is a proactive approach focused on a productive academic mindset, identifying resources, and providing academic support. Students who participated worked one-on-one with an Academic Support Counselor – essentially, this provided an individualized first-year experience course. The FLEX program is non-credit-bearing; thus, is free, and students can opt in or out.

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

Measures of success include the percentage of students who participated in the FLEX program and continued into the next semester in good academic standing and those who returned the following fall semester (first-year retention). Also, similar data from the AIM program will be compared to the FLEX program for context on a proactive approach compared to a reactive intervention.

Additionally, a post-survey will be given to all participants to determine the resources utilized and strengths of the program and identify areas of improvement.

  • Number of participants per fall
  • Percentage in good academic standing after the first semester
  • Percentage retained (First-year retention)
  • Average GPA of all participants
  • Average GPA of those retained

Baseline measure (for each KPI): See below. The baseline is being captured through the pilot.

Current/most recent data (for each KPI) [NEW for 2023]:



% Good Standing

% FY Retention

Avg GPA All

Avg GPA Retained

Fall 2022 Pilot






Fall 2023 Pilot






ABAC’s AIM program produced results and helped students return to good academic standing as long as they participated regularly in the program. The effectiveness is reduced when enrolled students who did not participate as expected are added in. Below is a glimpse of the AIM averages for the past five academic years:


5 YR Avg

Avg Student Required

% Return to Good Standing

% FY Retention

Avg GPA All

Avg GPA Retained





below 2.0

below 2.0

Goal or targets (for each KPI) and Time period/duration:

For students who participate in FLEX, ABAC would like to see the percentage of students in good standing and retained after their first year exceed institutional averages of over 65%.

Progress and Adjustments: 

Initial results of the FLEX program indicate that a proactive approach may help ABAC in improving USG student outcomes of first-year retention and reducing the time to degree completion. Currently, the FLEX program is voluntary as ABAC does not have a first-year experience requirement. There is capacity to serve more students, so the program may be adjusted to allow all incoming first-year students the opportunity to participate, with additional outreach and attention to students in a higher risk category based on their high school GPA. The FLEX program is expected to be fully scaled by Fall 2024.

Plan for the Year Ahead: 

At the end of Fall 2023, ABAC will review the pilot data. Based on the first pilot, ABAC plans to open the program further to all incoming first-year students, emphasizing those who may be at higher risk of failure. Additionally, an online component will be added to the ABAC learning management system, Georgia View, and survey data will be evaluated for current strengths and process improvement.

Challenges and Support: 

Financial and budget constraints may limit the ability to fully provide adequate staffing to run the FLEX program efficiently while providing other student success services for the student body.

From USG, as the CORE continues to change to better suit students, more flexibility in the CORE for state institutions is needed to allow for adjustments and adding of first-year-type programming without increasing the overall credits required for a degree. This type of flexibility is seen at the research level and in other schools within the university sector.

Primary Contact: 
Lisa Pryor, Director for Academic Support
Dr. Nicholas Urquhart, Assistant Vice President for Student Success