Revamped advising program working

Today is the first day of spring break for students and faculty, and it looks like spring too may come a bit early this year as well.

Even with Saturday morning’s light snow, crocuses and daffodils are starting to poke through, and temperatures in Elkins this week are heading for the 60s and 70s. Thank you Punxsutawney Phil!

This also marks six weeks into the spring semester and the first round of midterm exams and grades. As I mentioned last week, we’ve launched a wholly revamped advising program to better serve our students, including those who excel as well as those who may be having a rough go of it academically.

In talking with a student on Friday afternoon, I discovered first-hand that this new effort seems to be working. His is a story of the kind of personal and caring place we are. It’s a story I thought you might like to know about.

In late January, a student who for the second time had not measured up academically, made an appointment to personally appeal his dismissal. After a pretty heavy conversation in which we explored not only the personal challenges he had been facing but what it will take for him to turn his performance around, we each committed to both a written and verbal contract. Key items included:

– He will take a full course load in both the humanities and sciences, plus a Structured Academic Skills class.

– He will meet at least weekly with a new academic advisor, keeping him apprised of progress in all of his courses.

– He will not miss a single class except due to illness.

– He will do everything in his power to achieve a respectable grade point average.

– He will spend whatever time is necessary (a minimum of five hours per week) getting help from the staff of The Naylor Learning Center.

We will get together again before spring break to see how he’s doing.

Before we talked on Friday, I checked with each of his professors. This is what I discovered: He’s doing everything he agreed to and he’s earning one A, two Bs, one C, and a ‘pass’ in the Study Skills Class. Plus, he’s serving as a tutor in two of his classes!

One of his professors wrote me: ‘Thank you for giving him another chance during the academic review process. I am so happy to see him taking some leadership here and helping the other students in the class. I can’t imagine teaching this class without his help!”

This might not happen somewhere else. And it might not always happen here. But it does happen here, because this is what we’re all about ‘preparing and inspiring students for success.’ This is why we as faculty and staff are here. This is why we’re determined to Secure the Future for this amazing place. This is why your help is so important.

Create a wonderful week.