Academic Excellence Groups Launching in September

Group of diverse women participating in a Rinella Learning Center program

After a successful pilot in the spring, the Rinella Learning Center and the office of residence life are launching five academic excellence groups this September.

The spring pilot, a Women of Color (WOC) academic support group, brought together 8-12 self-identifying women of color on a weekly basis to discuss academic concerns and accomplishments and support one another. Discussion topics included thriving vs. surviving in one's education, racial battle fatigue, self-determination and goal setting, and self-advocacy in the classroom.

Three women of color sitting at desks in the Rinella Learning Center Seminar RoomIn addition to the Women of Color Academic Excellence Group, this fall will bring academic excellence groups targeting LGBTQ+ students, men of color, students with disabilities, and graduate students.

"We recognize that students' identities intersect with their academic performance,” said Chasity Dittman, learning specialist in the Rinella Learning Center. “These groups are operating at that intersection.”

The groups function through an asset-based lens, creating space for students to think about how their identities and lived experiences have allowed them to cultivate skills for academic success. “Our goal is to create culturally relevant, identity-based, and trauma-informed spaces for students to build community and draw upon their own strengths and skills to achieve success academically," said Dittman.

Groups will begin meeting on the third week of classes (9/9-9/13). Interested students should contact the Rinella Learning Center at or sign up using the forms below: