Mississippi Public Universities
2008 Academics Winners
First Place: University of Mississippi
"Contractual Readmission Program"
The University of Mississippi's Contractual Readmission Program is an effective low-cost service provided to undergraduates returning from academic suspension or dismissal. . The purpose of the program is to support students by providing individual consultation and/or small groups and exercises designed to elicit discussion, application, and practice of effective study strategies. The program is administered by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (the Center) in close cooperation with the Department of Leadership and Counselor Education (the Department). The assistant director of the Center, also an assistant professor in the Department, is an approved clinical supervisor and serves as site supervisor. The primary goal for this program is to facilitate students' development into self-directed and self-regulated learners via structured and unstructured learning activities, mentoring, and counseling. The program is a three-tiered system of support that has evolved as the program has been refined. In the program, students returning from academic suspension or dismissal are required to take EDLD 202, Fundamentals of Active Learning, during their first regular (fall or spring) semester back as a condition of their re-enrollment. EDLD 202 is a 2-credit pass/fail class that requires students to (1) participate in weekly meetings, (2) log study hours in the J.D. Williams Library, (3) attend Academic Success Training (AST) workshops, and (4) complete weekly planner checks. The Center provides the study skills workshops and monitored study hours; the Department provides the weekly face-to-face meetings and online check-ins. Students must repeat the course until a passing grade is recorded and after being re-dismissed. Benefits are realized at three levels: (1) undergraduates are the primary recipients of academic counseling and consulting services, (2) counselors-in-training receive clinical supervision and on-site training, and (3) doctoral level Counselor Educators gain valuable administrative and supervisory experiences.
Second Place: Mississippi University for Women
"Improving Student Success Through Mentorship"
MUW's College Success Mentorship program promotes the academic success of incoming first-year and transfer students by providing them with the personalized attention that they need to be successful in a new and often alien environment. The program identifies ten mentors from the Columbus community with appropriate skills and college degrees and assigns them fifty first-time students each. After initial training, the mentors contact their students, ideally once a week via e-mail or phone. In their conversations, mentors assist students with their adjustment to college life, direct students to campus resources, and remind them about important academic policies and deadlines. The mentors also help their students set academic goals. Every two weeks, the mentors submit their time logs and summaries of conversations to the director of academic support services, who tracks contacts and offers suggestions to improve the quality of mentorship. At the end of the semester, the director evaluates the program by asking students to submit online evaluations and by holding an exit session with mentors. Ultimately, the program should promote students' successful transition to the university and persistence to the next semester and beyond.