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REACH History

History of Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH)

Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) was created on July 1, 2000 and began as an academic support unit organized under the Academic Provost’s Office. At that time, REACH employed two professional staff, one graduate assistant and 54 tutors. Fewer than 1000 students used our tutoring services, which included Supplemental Instruction (SI), Scheduled Tutoring, and a math lab. In 2014, longtime Executive Director Cathy Leist retired and new leadership began with Dr. Geoff Bailey. Over the years, REACH has developed key partnerships across the university that have fostered greater student success, as well as significantly enhanced retention and graduation rates.

REACH highlights include:

  • Earning all three levels of international tutor certification under the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) that ensure best practices
  • Developing the Speed Calculus Preview Program in 2008 to bolster students’ academic review and preparation for their first Engineering math course
  • Developing our intervention reading course (GEN 105) in 2010 for students identified as not being college-ready based on standardized test scores
  • Developing our intervention math courses in 2013 (GEN 103 and 104) that use REACH’s Emporium Math Lab (EML) for students identified as not being college-ready in mathematics
  • Collaborating with Speed School of Engineering since 2016 to support the Brown Forman Engineering Academy
  • Creating the Hackademic Series workshops to help bolster academic decision-making and promote strategies that improve student performance (several of these have won national awards for their use of gamification)
  • Partnering with Tutor Matching Service to offer private, fee-based tutoring for the community using current and former REACH tutors
  • Collaborating with The Princeton Review to offer free graduate and professional school exam workshops and full-length online practice tests
  • Expanding tutoring services for Engineering students through Speed School’s Academic & Leadership Center
  • Creating the Math Xcelerator summer program in 2019 to prepare students for college-level math courses
  • Renovating our Computer Resource Center (Ekstrom Library) in summer 2019 to include cutting edge-technologies
  • Being cited by the university president’s office and the Louisville Courier Journal as a factor in UofL’s increasing undergraduate graduation rates
  • Earning national awards including the Tutoring Center of the Year award, multiple National Tutor of the Year Awards, and awards for our website and use of technology

Today, REACH is organized under Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success (SEMSS). Main operations moved to the new Belknap Academic Building in August 2018, and REACH uses satellite centers located in Ekstrom Library (CRC), the J.B. Speed building (ALC), and in classrooms all around campus. In December 2019, UofL’s Testing Services officially realigned under REACH. REACH has 15 full-time professional staff, 11 graduate assistants, and 200+ tutors each academic year. Click here to learn more about our history!