Louisiana State University Shreveport

Boosting Student Success With Meauxmentum Framework

Using the structure of a statewide initiative, this university redesigned its first-year experience course for underrepresented students to address equity gaps, bolster academic success, and strengthen the state’s workforce.

To enhance the first-year experience of its historically underrepresented students, Louisiana State University (LSU) Shreveport developed and integrated its version of The Meauxmentum Framework into its recruitment, retention, and graduation strategies. This statewide initiative is an “evidence-based framework demonstrated to significantly improve student success and close equity gaps across all types of universities and colleges in multiple states.” The Meauxmentum Framework is a tool designed to help higher education institutions in Louisiana identify the changes they must make to achieve their unique student success goals.

LSU Shreveport joined the 28 public colleges and universities in implementing programs that align with The Meauxmentum Framework as part of the Louisiana Board of Regents’ Master Plan for Higher Education. The goal of this framework is to increase the number of students who complete a higher education credential and are prepared for the workforce by 2030. The framework engages colleges and universities to focus on four areas of the student experience referred to as structural threads: choices, pathways, milestones, and engagement. The framework focuses on these structural threads through a lens shaped by three foundational strands: everyone, resources/affordability, and learning mindsets. Together, they create a theory of change that can be applied across the length, breadth, and depth of higher education, within the context of an institution, program, or classroom.

The university in northwestern Louisiana zoomed in on the first-year experience of its students as it mulled the implementation of The Meauxmentum Framework on its campus. Before attending The Meauxmentum Framework Summit in 2021, LSU Shreveport struggled with this issue. As LSU Shreveport discussed barriers to success in its first-year course in its general education curriculum, it was inspired to ask, “Who are our students? What do they need to be successful?” As a result, in 2018, LSU Shreveport conducted a comprehensive survey of its student population and discovered that Pell Grant recipients, the majority of whom are students who identify as Black/African-American, were having a very different experience compared with the rest of the student population. Pell Grant recipients indicated that they needed help with transportation, housing, health care, and food, while non-Pell Grant students expressed needing minimal support. The survey highlighted two different student experiences based on income. This realization inspired LSU Shreveport leaders and staff to adopt student-centric models of operation and program design for their first-year program that put student needs at the forefront of their work.

The Meauxmentum Framework offered an opportunity for LSU Shreveport to develop a mission based on a common language and work together toward a common goal of student success. Launched in fall 2023, the redesigned first-year experience at LSU Shreveport is a comprehensive program for incoming students that will help them transition to the university, foster learning and engagement, improve persistence, and invite student participation in the academic and social life of the university. This campuswide collaborative effort aligns in the following ways with the structural threads of the framework:


The student-centered approach focuses on removing barriers for all students, including first-generation and underrepresented students. Many of the assignments and activities in the first-year experience program address the “hidden curriculum”: university culture, policies, processes, and expectations. They also advocated support-seeking behaviors and cultivate supportive relationships by requiring meetings with peer leaders, academic coaches, advisors, and other campus resources.


The college student inventory (CSI) helps with assessing risk factors and basic needs insecurities and helps the university provide the students with early intervention and connection to campus resources.

Learning mindsets

Activities and assignments focused on building within the students a growth mindset as well as a sense of purpose, relevance, and belonging are embedded throughout the first-year experience program.

Thinking of the first-year experience through the lens of The Meauxmentum Framework was a mind shift and cultural change for LSU Shreveport, and the results in student success were well worth the time, energy, and resources spent on aligning institutional efforts to advance the postsecondary value of higher education.

The Methodology

As a result of The Meauxmentum Framework, LSU Shreveport established a work group, consisting of faculty and staff members as well as students, that focused exclusively on the first-year experience for students. Because the workgroup included different areas of campus, the various departments and campus services that interact with students learned from each other and collaborated on their common goal. By doing so, the university sought to normalize help-seeking behavior in students across campus, create a sense of community and belonging, and build trust with students.

The redesigned first-year experience supports the whole student: intellectual, social, emotional, physical, financial, and occupational. Prior to the redesign, the first-year course that LSU Shreveport offered had a high failing rate, low attendance, and low student participation and engagement. For first-year course faculty members, professional development in active learning and high-impact pedagogical practices was also limited. The updated first-year experience is a holistic model based on empirical research, incorporating the psychosocial factors involved in student transition challenges. The revised first-year experience, including the seminar held in the fall semester, was intentionally structured to support first-generation students, students from underrepresented communities, and students with limited or no experience of the higher education processes such as the importance of maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

A major aspect of the redesigned first-year experience at LSU Shreveport is the peer leader program. The peer leaders provide leadership, information, and resources to first-year students as well as foster a supportive learning environment. They work with the assistant vice chancellor for Student Success Initiatives and other Student Development staff members as well as first-year seminar instructors. To aid in the successful transition of first-generation students, the peer leaders connect them with upper-division students who serve as mentors and role models, resources, and facilitators for learning.

The peer leader program is mutually beneficial for those who serve and those who are served: Students who receive support from a peer leader develop meaningful connections and are more successful, while students who serve as a peer leader learn transferable skills and gain meaningful experiences through supporting others. Peer leaders are selected through an application and group interview process. Peer leaders undergo initial training such as earning their certification through the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and ongoing training and support.

In addition, an application process was developed for faculty and staff members who wanted to teach the first-year seminar, followed by foundational professional development that included a 500-page resource manual with various classroom exercises and assignments that could be used.

The first-year experience is rolled out on a timeline based on the anticipated needs and challenges of first-year students and their optimal receptiveness to information and support.

US@LSUS Readiness Day

In August, immediately before fall classes begin, LSU Shreveport’s Student Development coordinates a campuswide US@LSUS Readiness Day. The participating first-year students are provided with hands-on practice with technology as well as a resource packet that includes their printed schedule, how-to guides, campus resource guide, and a campus map. Representatives from across the campus, including college deans, faculty members, advisors, administrators, staff members, and peer leaders, come together to support student readiness, followed by a culminating campuswide meal with students and their families welcoming them to LSU Shreveport.

Fall semester

During the fall semester, students are enrolled in the first-year seminar, a general education requirement. The seminar involved input and contributions from individuals across campus, including student affairs administrators and support staff, academic affairs administrators, faculty members, academic advisors, library faculty and staff, and peer leaders and mentors. It seeks to foster a sense of belonging; promote engagement in the life of the university; articulate university expectations; help students learn and apply academic and life skills; assist career exploration; and increase self-awareness, self-accountability, and self-efficacy. Near the end of the semester, students complete a follow-up post-test of the CSI called the Mid-Year Student Assessment (MYSA), which further examines the noncognitive, motivational needs of students at the midpoint of their first year and provides information on potential interventions to meet students’ current needs. The CSI and MYSA not only help assess risk factors and needs but also help the first-year experience team enhance the supportive relationships surrounding the students.

Additional assignments in the seminar involve helping students gain academic and other transferable life skills while building a support system and sense of belonging. Many assignments require the students to connect with the various LSU Shreveport offices, resources, and support personnel outside the class. In the process, they learn and practice skills in research, interviewing, professional etiquette, collaboration and presentation, all while developing relationships with faculty, staff, and peers. Through this coordination, the students deepen their connection to the campus community that improves their success and retention as well as sense of community and well-being.

Spring semester

During the spring semester, LSU Shreveport offers support for students who earned a D or F in any course or have under a 2.5 GPA in their first fall semester. SOAR is a proactive, prevention-based recovery program designed to help first-year students maintain their scholarship and financial aid eligibility. CSI and MYSA data from the previous fall semester are used to assess students in the program. The SOAR program includes guidance and support from experienced staff and mentors, and academic and personal resources such as skill-building workshops, individualized career exploration and development support, stress management and emotional support, and holistic needs assessment. As part of the university’s retention goals, the SOAR program is also designed to improve first-to-second-year retention.

First-year early alert system

To reach more students who could benefit from the first-year experience at LSU Shreveport, the university developed a first-year early alert outreach strategy based on four-week grade requirements for all 100- and 200-level courses. This approach also targets students enrolled in the first-year experience program. First-year students are identified who have a D or lower in at least one course. Students not in the program receive a holistic needs assessment to determine the supports they need to be successful; students in the program receive additional assistance through direct referrals to support services. Academic advisors are also provided with early alert outreach information. Students are required to meet with advisors after midterms as part of the first-year seminar. Advisors work with students to provide informed guidance based on their progress. Through this purposeful redesign, LSU Shreveport is establishing a strong foundation that not only improves student access to higher education but also promotes the successful completion of credentials of value and the use of those credentials to build productive lives and work.

The Impact

Through The Meauxmentum Framework, the Louisiana Board of Regents is determined to increase the graduation rate of individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 to 60% by 2030. Due to the efforts and commitment of institutions like LSU Shreveport to The Meauxmentum Framework, that percentage statewide is currently at around 49.5%, up from 44.2% in a very short time. Every 1% is about 25,000 people.

At LSU Shreveport, one of the greatest measures of progress and effectiveness of The Meauxmentum Framework has been the increase in the retention rates and the improved GPAs of the students participating in the program. The fall 2023 cohort reflected a fall-to-spring retention rate of 90.3%, the highest rate since 2012 (90.2%), an increase of 5.6% from the fall 2022 retention rate (84.7%). Furthermore, students in the first-year experience tend to achieve approximately +0.33 higher GPA on average in their first semester than students who do not participate. Even for students who struggled, only five program participants earned below a 1.5 GPA in fall 2023, while of those who did not participate, 28 earned below a 1.5 GPA.

The committees focused on the first-year experience evaluated the data and made the following recommendations starting in the fall 2024 semester:

STEM Pre-Fall Bootcamp

The largest selected major for incoming first-year students is biology. This bootcamp is designed to prepare students on expectations, develop supportive relationships early, and normalize challenges they may experience to build a growth mindset and support seeking behaviors.

Academic Recovery Program

While not limited to first-year students, this summer program seeks to support students who have lost financial aid due to unsatisfactory academic progress. The program offers individual assessment and personalized recovery planning and support for students on academic probation or suspension. This program is expected to be offered through the financial aid office to students seeking financial aid appeal due to challenging life circumstances. In addition, The Meauxmentum Framework removes the Ivory Tower mystique from LSU Shreveport. This approach makes higher education more accessible and builds on the resilience of the community.

Key Takeaways

Having The Meauxmentum Framework implemented at the state’s public higher education institutions has eliminated a lot of the territoriality some individuals at colleges and universities experience and perpetuate. Essentially, everyone is working toward the betterment of their particular student populations, not against each other, as they try to boost their enrollment.

“Higher education is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. So, ways in which a campus can deliberately architect an experience that helps students really become much more deeply engaged in … why it is that students believe they’re in college pays enormous dividends. … As you’re crafting those initiatives … you have to think about the students that you’re serving. Who are your students and what does their experience have to say about how you shape your initiatives? You want strategies that are going to work for all of your students, not just some of your students.”

Dr. Tristan Denley, deputy commissioner, Louisiana Board of Regents, and author, The Meauxmentum Framework

This website uses cookies to provide necessary functionality, improve your experience, and analyze website traffic. By using this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our cookies usage.