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Program History


CLASP began in 2008 as a collaboration between the Department of English, Multicultural Student Services, College Assistance Migrant Program, Athletics, Student Support Services, and the College Success Foundation.


From 2011-2013, program expansion was funded by a grant from College Spark.


In 2015, the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Writing Program, hired a CLASP Director to build the capacity of the program and establish a research agenda.


CLASP is designed to support retention of low-income, first-generation, racially diverse or otherwise underrepresented students in two related ways. The program facilitates regular student-faculty dialogue during office hours and offers faculty professional development opportunities to explore the connections between retention and pedagogy. Specific topics for faculty development include, but are not limited to:
  • Introduction to Stereotype Threat
  • Encouraging Student Persistence After the Exam
  • Strategies for Conferencing with Students
  • Responding to Student Writing
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Course design
  • Considerations for Class Participation

The CLASP director also works closely with advocates from the various student support units listed above to match students with CLASP faculty and ensure that students are supported as they reach out to faculty during office hours.

CLASP currently averages around 1,000 student-faculty office hours meeting each fall semester. CLASP faculty come from a range of departments (Biology, Comparative Ethnic Studies, English, Entomology, Environmental Science, Geology, History, Human Development, Math, Music, Psychology, Sociology) and offer over 50 sections of courses typically populated by first-year students.

The CLASP model is meant to be replicable and customizable. Our data on student retention, persistence, and skill transfer demonstrate the success of such a model. A localized version of CLASP has been adopted at WSU Vancouver.

The success of CLASP is described in the chapter “RETENTION, CRITICAL PEDAGOGY, AND STUDENTS AS AGENTS: Eschewing the Deficit Model” by┬áBeth Buyserie, Anna Plemons and Patricia Freitag Ericsson, published in Retention, Persistence, and Writing Programs by Todd Ruecker, Dawn Shepherd, Heidi Estrem, and Beth Brunk-Chavez (University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2017).