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academic center for excellence

DU Honors Convo. Ceremony PictureA goal of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), is to create a national model for providing holistic academic and social care to students from our particular demographic.  Within the ACE, the programs and staff work collaboratively to improve the retention efforts and academic success of all students as they matriculate through the first two years of their collegiate experience at Dillard University. 


The departments encompassed in the ACE are:  the First-Year Experience Programs, Academic Advising (for first-year and transfer students), Service Learning, the Writing Center, Supplemental Instruction, and the Thompson/Cook Honors Program.  All of these identified units have a unique function contributing to the overall success of lower division students.  Embedded within these programs are administrative, curricular and programmatic initiatives that assist students in developing the requisite competencies to successfully navigate the processes and culture of higher education. Combining these programs allows for students to work collaboratively to support the needs of their peers. These collaborations will further contribute to the sense of purpose and belonging for all students, which are essential components of a successful transition (Boyer, 1985).  The overall goal is to create an environment that allows for both natural and intentional collaborations to occur.  

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First Year Seminar

The First Year Seminar is a structured, year-long learning experience designed to assist first-year students in making a smooth transition to college life.

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University Convocation provides students the opportunity to hear from peers, faculty, and staff.

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General Education

This academic introduction is developed primarily through the General Education Curriculum.


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Transfer Students

Another subpopulation that has historically been underserved at Dillard is the transfer students. ACE would serve as the central integration place for all transfer students regardless of their classification because their needs are similar to those of first-year students.  Providing concentrated services for transfer students will increase the retention and graduation rates of this population.

  • For first-year transfer students, Learning Communities would be created in the Spring or Fall semester specifically focusing on their needs.  This would include a FYS course directed at the special circumstances related to transferring.
  • For all other transfer students, they would remain with ACE for their first semester while they are becoming fully acclimated to Dillard.  During the first-semester, the goal will be to insure all general education courses have been completed and to create an academic plan that will see them to graduation. Additionally, educating them on the available resources and the institutional culture to promote academic success.

Dillard University

2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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