SIF156 Bridge Project

Project Manager: Archie Holmes

This award is intended to support a new program to fund pilot projects designed to support diversity programming at UVA.

BoV Approved: April 2018

Project Dates: 7/01/2018 – 6/30/2020

Total Funding: $1,500,000

Executive Summary

In response to the events of August 11-12, 2017, President Sullivan formed the Deans Working Group, led by Dean Risa Goluboff.  This group requested $30 million in funding from the Board of Visitors for a variety of activities, including $5 million of which was to be immediately available to pilot a “Bridging Project” to support diversity programming designed to help students, faculty, and staff benefit from the University's diversity by connecting with and learning from members of the University community different from themselves.  The Board of Visitors initially allocated $1.5 million for this effort to the Executive Vice President and Provost.  

The Vice Provost for Academic Affairs was tasked to develop a plan for the distribution of these funds. The result was the Provost’s Bridging Projects Program to be conducted in two phases. Phase I was designed to allocate $1 million to the schools and other units based on the original request from the Deans Working Group.  The objective of Phase I was to fund pilot programs designed to help select schools and other units take the next step towards advancing their goals and aspirations, aligned with the overall vision articulated here:

As the University enters its third century, we continuously seek to define and redefine ourselves, motivated by our shared passion for developing responsible citizen leaders and professionals; advancing, preserving, and disseminating knowledge; and providing world-class patient care. This will be best achieved within an academic community whose diversity enriches its members’ experiences and understanding of others and themselves, where community members are open and interested in learning about different backgrounds and perspectives, and where people feel physically and emotionally safe and have a strong sense of belonging. We will settle for no less than to be a University prospective students, faculty, and staff from many backgrounds eagerly choose to join because they are confident it is a place where they will thrive and fulfill their dreams and where current members of the community are enabled to fully use their talents, interests, and experiences as active participants in the university’s work.

Current Status: Completed


This award was formally reviewed by the PAC at its January 2020 meeting. The project team made 17 phase I pilot awards to units across the University. One project, in particular, was found to merit substantial additional phase II funding. This project, led by the College, is designed to (1) support the transfer pathway to UVA by accelerating student transitions into upper-division coursework; (2) reduce rates of “transfer shock” by expanding opportunities for entering transfers students to form advising and mentoring relationships with peers and faculty, and (3) improve graduation rates among underrepresented students who enter as transfer students through high-impact instructional practices. With the original funding, 50 transfer students from diverse backgrounds (30% first-generation and 32% URM) came to Grounds and took courses (either 2 Social Sciences/Humanities classes or 1 Math/Science class + lab). Self-reported results showed that students felt that they improved their ability to study effectively on their own, produce coursework at the required standard for UVA, and learned to ask for help when they needed it. Independently, faculty within the College noted to transfer students in their courses appeared to be better prepared than in past year.

The project closed in February 2021, and the funds remaining were repurposed to support two new awards, SIF181 UVA Racial Equity Taskforce Support  and SIF182 Summer Advancement.