Innovating for student success: The University Leadership Network (ULN) and tiered undergraduate peer mentor model

Jennifer L. Smith


This paper highlights the innovative approach the Student Success Initiative’s unit at the University of Texas at Austin is taking to increase undergraduate persistence and four-year graduation rates. Specifically, this piece explores the large-scale University Leadership Network (ULN) program and examines the tiered undergraduate peer mentor model utilized to support the success of first-year students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, including a majority of underrepresented minority (URM) students. The article also reviews the critical role peer mentors play in helping to meet institution-wide goals and how they extend the reach of student support programs. Lastly, best practices, challenges, and components necessary for program replication will be presented.


Peer mentor; training; underrepresented students

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Copyright (c) 2017 Jennifer L. Smith