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Tennessee's goal is for 55% of adults to obtain a post-secondary degree, but not even that percentage of adults make it through their first semester of college. The problem is especially severe at community colleges, where 40% of students drop out after only one semester.

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) governs all thirteen community colleges and 27 technical colleges within the state of Tennessee, serving more than 100,000 students each year. Since the beginning of Motivate Lab’s partnership with TBR, we have worked to understand the root of Tennessee students’ motivation and barriers to success. We’ve spoken with advisors at two Advising Academies, listened to faculty and staff at the 2017 and 2018 regional High Impact Practice drive ins, and delivered a keynote presentation at the Pedagogy with Purpose Academy. We have held focus groups and meetings at three different pilot institutions across the state, and led a design charrette to involve stakeholders in our research process.

Currently, Motivate Lab is working with three community colleges to pilot interventions in co-requisite math and first year experience classes. Together, we’re infusing classrooms with purpose and value and encouraging students to connect their personal values to their education. 

Motivate Lab and the Tennessee Board of Regents have committed to working together through at least 2020 to identify ways to support Tennessee students’ motivation and adopt supportive practices.