Enrichment Programs Ensure Student Success

TLC Staff

Members of the Student Success team include (l to r) Adjunct Instructor of Business Lee Frye, GWS Instructor and Success Center Tutor Virginia Seale, Learning Center Manager Tom Steele, Learning Consultant Sheree Thomas, and Special Assistant to the VPAA for Student Success Ronda Bryant. Missing from the photo is Donna (Dee) Warren.

For many young adults, the first year of college can be an exciting but overwhelming time. Students and their families are often anxious about the transition from high school to college. Ronda Bryant, special assistant to the vice president for academic affairs for student success, is part of a team of educators who serve students through a number of academic enrichment programs. “Ensuring a strong foundation for the freshman year is a high priority for the College,” said Bryant. “The first semester in general, and the first few weeks of the first semester especially, are crucial in determining whether a student will be successful in college and ultimately earn a degree.”

Whether offering workshops and tutoring through the Academic Resources Center, guiding students’ college-level research from Stanley Library, accommodating special learning needs through Academic Accessibility, or coordinating outreach through the Retention Alert System, faculty and staff collaborate to support freshmen from the time they attend Panther PAWS. In addition, special initiatives have been designed to increase students’ odds
of success:

The Think & Learn Center (TLC) opened in fall 2013 to serve students chosen for the Freshman Learning Community. These are students whom the College feels have an increased chance of success if provided an extra level of support. “The TLC is welcoming, comfortable, and offers students the opportunity to complete their assignments with the added benefit of seasoned professional tutors,” said Tom Steele, center manager. The TLC assists with academic planning, reading improvement, planning written assignments, and developing math skills. Located in Bassett Residence Hall, the TLC includes an A/V-equipped classroom, a computer-equipped math assistance lab, and two comfortable reading rooms. The TLC served 175 freshmen during the fall, and continues to serve Learning Community students in academic recovery and new students who enrolled in spring 2014.

Each male TLC participant has been assigned a peer mentor from the Brother for Brother Mentoring Program for male freshman students. The program was conceived by students in Dr. John Kitterman’s English 102 class in spring 2013. “We hope that interaction with a successful peer will aid the students in the TLC in developing the skills necessary to be successful in the classroom and grow as a campus citizen,” said program co-advisor Steele.

Students enrolled in the Learning Opportunities Program meet with Sheree Thomas, learning consultant, on a weekly basis to address academic goals and develop strategies for academic success and empower them to become independent learners. Students also participate in a pre-semester session and are housed together with access to private study rooms. “I get to witness students go from point A to point B,” said Thomas. “When they come to my office with an issue, we talk through that issue; then they come up with solutions… and then they go out and try those solutions. And it works.”

FOCUS (First Opportunity for College Undergraduate Success) is a two week, pre-college experience designed to help students prepare for the academic demands of Ferrum College. Participants attend classes and work with faculty to enhance their skills in reading and writing or math, and earn three hours of academic credit.

For more information on these initiatives and other Academic Support programs, contact Dr. Bryant in Academic Affairs at rbryant@ferrum.edu or (540)-365-5058.

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