Message from the Director
Dr. Jerry L. Lewis
Executive Director AAP
"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe ... can be achieved." That's the motto we live by at the University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs (AAP).
Why? Because we've repeatedly seen the difference that is made by believing in oneself and committing oneself to achieving goals, whether they might be academic excellence, career aspirations, or personal and professional goals. AAP administers several programs that provide access and retention support services to undergraduate students. Its McNair program prepares students for graduate education leading to a doctoral degree. The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) assists one thousand (1,000) adults in the Prince Georges' County communities with enrollment and reenrollment in post-secondary education pipeline each year.
AAP (SSS/IED) serves as an alternative admissions option for a select number of low income and first generation students admitted to the University each year who if evaluated solely on traditional criteria such as standardized test scores, highest GPA, or class rank would have less of a likelihood of pursuing their education at or earning their degree from the University of Maryland. Many AAP students are first generation students who are from families with limited financial resources and/or traditionally underrepresented students in graduate education programs.
Even though many institutions are introducing initiatives and programs to support students from first generation, low income and underrepresented backgrounds - college access, retention/completion, and graduate/professional school enrollment disparities persist. The challenge for students from the lower income quartile is more acute today than over the past 10 years. Programs like those that make up AAP are critical if the playing field is ever to be leveled for these students to attain a college education. Nationally, the Federal Trio Programs, three of which are a part of AAP (SSS/IED/McNair/EOC), only serve 6% of the eligible students. Too few of these talented students reach the halls of higher education institutions and often times when they successfully navigate the maze of standardized test, highly competitive admission processes, and limited financial aid they are still challenged by the rigor of the curriculum due to under-preparedness from high school. AAP programs are not funded or positioned to answer all of the challenges faced by these students. However, it will and must provide high quality educational support services including: academic and career advising, personal and academic counseling, tutoring support, math, English, reading and study skills support to supplement their educational experience. It is AAP's objective to reduce the achievement gap and to improve the retention and graduation of its students.
The McNair Program will continue to prepare students to not only enter the graduate school pipeline but to infuse the presence of traditionally underrepresented students in the academy of higher education as faculty and researchers.
The AAP - EOC programs will continue to be committed to assisting adults in entering or re-entering the educational pipeline to improve the social, educational, and economic infrastructure of our surrounding low income communities.
As the adverse effects to low-income communities, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor, continue to grow, the need for programs like the ones in AAP and the services it provides to college students will, and must also, continue to grow.
Dr. Jerry L. Lewis, Executive Director
University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs
Student Support Services—Summer Transitional Program—Intensive Educational Development Program—Ronald E. McNair—Educational Opportunity Center