Jennifer Edwards

Professor of Communication (Higher Education)

Tarleton State University

Jennifer Edwards

Professor of Communication (Higher Education)

Tarleton State University

Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards is a Professor of Communication at Tarleton State University. Prior to her current role, she served as Assistant Vice-President for Student Success and Multicultural Initiatives at Tarleton where she was responsible for the following areas: Academic Advising Center, Career Services, Academic Mentoring Initiatives, Academic Resource Center, Center for Academic Readiness and Success, Center for Assessment and Academic Testing, International Programs, and Upward Bound. Edwards was also the leader of the American Association of State Colleges and University's Re-Imagining the First-Year Experience initiative (RFY@Tarleton) and the leader for the implementation of the Education Advisory Board's Student Success Collaborative at Tarleton (SSC@Tarleton).

She is the 2012 recipient of the Tarleton State University Jack and Louise Arthur Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011 recipient of the Tarleton State University Barry B. Thompson Award for Excellence in Service Award, and two of Texas A&M University System Student Recognition Awards for Teaching Excellence in 2011 and 2012. Edwards also serves at the executive director of the Texas Social Media Research Institute (a social media initiative based at Tarleton State University).

On a state level, she served as a Faculty Fellow for Association of American Colleges and Universities - Liberal Education and America’s Promise in Texas. On a national level, she serves as a Social Sciences Councilor with the Council on Undergraduate Research. Edwards has published over 30 articles and presented over 50 conference presentations.

Edwards contributed over 50 publications and presentations in the communication and higher education research fields. She enjoys engaging students from all backgrounds in high-impact learning experiences (especially undergraduate research) in the classroom and the Texas Social Media Research Institute.

Her dissertation, "Supports for and barriers to on -time graduation as perceived by African American undergraduate students at historically Black colleges and universities and historically White colleges and universities" received the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Texas Association College and University Student Personnel Administrators. Her research interests include: academic nudging (text messaging, email, and mobile applications), electronic higher education retention solutions, undergraduate research and engagement). Please connect with her on Twitter account @drjtedwards or YouTube (Dr. Edwards's YouTube Channel -

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

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Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

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Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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