Photo courtesy of Theresa Danna-Douglas
The College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources first-year students sit in the Lawlor Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 18 The Nevada Fit program is one of the five finalists for the Degree Completion Award

The Association of Public and Land-grant University labelled the University of Nevada, Reno, a 2018 Degree Completion Award finalist due to increasing graduation rates due to the university’s program NevadaFit.

The Degree Completion Award is granted by the APLU to identify and reward universities who install innovative programs on their campuses to improve graduation rates. University programs are reviewed by a panel of eight judges who determine which programs will become a finalist. The finalists this year were Arizona State University, the University of Memphis, UNR, the University of Rhode Island and Wayne State University. The winner will be announced during APLU Annual Meeting Nov. 11-13 in New Orleans.

“I am elated that the University of Nevada, Reno was selected as a finalist, and this recognition is really a testament to our dedication to student success,” Felicia DeWald, the NevadaFit coordinator said. ”Almost every department on campus collaborates in the planning and implementation of the NevadaFIT program, from the deans’ offices and the college coordinators, to Student Services, to our faculty lecturers, to our upperclassmen mentors, the list could go on and on. This is truly a campus-wide effort with the primary goal of easing incoming freshmen into their transition to college academics.”

NevadaFit is a six day program the University of Nevada, Reno created in 2013 to assist the transition from high school to college. The one-credit program course allows students to experience a week of college classes both related to their majors and core classes.

NevadaFit was based off of the “BIOS” program the Louisiana State University created in 2005. Participants attend lectures based off their field of study and classes they plan on taking during fall semester. According to the UNR, students who attend the NevadaFIT program have a .13 average first semester GPA increase and a seven percent average one-year retention rate increase.

In 2018, NevadaFit had 1,620 participants. The programs at NevadaFit depends on the participants declared major. These programs includes: ScienceFit, CABNRFIT, LiberalArtsFit, Fit2Care (Education), HealthFit, E-Fit (Engineering), BizFit (Business) and J-Fit (Journalism). The Colleges of Science, Agriculture and Biotechnology, Engineering, Education, and Business require their incoming freshman to attend NevadaFit.

“It is such an honor just to be selected as a finalist and to engage in conversation with other institutions to make increased retention and graduation rates across the country a priority.” DeWald said.APLU is an organization that advocates the advancement of public universities in North America. It focuses on increasing graduation rates, academic success, scientific research and student engagement. Around 238 universities have a membership with APLU. The organization works with Congress, legislative bodies, and the media to help advocate for higher education. APLU was first founded in 1887 and is considered to be the oldest higher education association in North America.