ASPIRE to Succeed

About the Program

The ASPIRE to Succeed learning community is designed to help students who are committed to overcoming the academic, personal, and social obstacles necessary to succeed at the college level. We will be integrating our individual experiences into the class, as well as applying what we learn, to other classes and your personal and social journey through college. This allows coursework to be meaningful beyond the traditional limits of the classroom. By the end of the semester we will have blurred the line between our academic and personal lives, in order to align our individual identities, motivations and values with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and succeed. Furthermore, this will be the foundation for a long-term community and network of students that can be useful to you long after this course, through college, and into your first careers.

Who's Eligible

First year students who meet one of the following criteria:

  • limited income - receiving the PELL grant
  • first generation - neither parent has graduated from a 4 year college/university
  • have a documented disability - recognized by the University's Disability Services Office.

Visit ASPIRE Student Support Services for more information

Classes You'll Take


POLS-210 American Government (3 cr.)

Structures and processes of national, state and local government in the United States; constitutional framework, political theory and ideology, racial and ethnic dimensions of U.S. political culture, civil rights, media, voting, parties, elections, interest groups, and policy making. Comparisons with selected foreign governments. This class fulfills 3 of the required credits for the Social and Behavioral Science general education requirement.

TRDIS – 120 Strategies for Academic Success (2 cr. - Tuition Waived)

This seminar is designed to enhance our students' abilities to succeed in college. Whether students graduated on top or somewhere in the middle of their high school class, the course is appropriate for all students who desire to be successful in college. The course will focus on adjustment challenges and explore competencies relevant to college student development and academic achievement. Course objectives include study skills strategies, such as note-taking, test-taking techniques, and textbook reading comprehension, time management and goal setting. Through peer engagement and interaction, focused class discussion and other activities, and reflection on the educational experience, students will strive to apply motivational principles and learning strategies leading to academic success at the university.

Students will be challenged to develop personal confidence and integrate strategies into their academic and student life experiences in order to maximize their college success.

Where You Will Live

This is a non residential learning community and is not linked to a resident hall or floor. On campus and commuter students are welcome. There is an ASPIRE floor option available in SOUTH HALL that is affiliated with this Learning Community. Students indicating an early interest in ASPIRE programming will receive priority to live on the ASPIRE Floor in South Hall.

What We Do

Movie nights, study groups, participate in field trips, including a teacher's convention and visits to local public schools.

Faculty and Staff

dave boisen 

  Name: Dave Boisen


Hobbies and Interests:
U.S. History; home beer brewing; watching my kids participate in sports and music activities.

The most interesting thing that I ever done: being a by-name call-up for state active duty two weeks after 9/11 to organize and help administer the airport security mission at 7 regional airports, (some for 24-hours a day, all of them 7-days a week) that the Wisconsin National Guard executed during the next 8 months from the state headquarters in Madison. Since something like this had never been done before, we had to synthesize the operation, quickly and safely, as we went along. I wrote the official military order, which was signed by our two-star general commanding officer only a week after my arrival in Madison, which put it all into motion.

Community Profile

Number of Participants: 25

Living Location: South Hall, Commuter Students Welcome

Classes: POLS 210 and TRDIS 120

Eligibility: Recommended for First Generation, Income Eligible and/or Documented Disability