Student SUccess Initiative established
Student SUccess Initiative establishedMarch 04, 2003Megan Feringtonmafering@syr.edu
In a move that reflects the increasing diversity of its students and offerings, the Student SUccess Initiative (SSUI) has been created from the program formerly known as Syracuse Academic Improvement Program (SAIP). Rather than a cosmetic enhancement, the name change represents significant enhancements to SSUI’s programs, including a new year-round nonresidential program to supplement the existing summer residential learning community.
SSUI helps students from a variety of backgrounds develop skills and strategies to make the academic experience more productive and satisfying. The initiative offers opportunities to build and test those skills and strategies while increasing the sense of connection with other students on the same success-oriented path. In addition to the summer and academic-year programs, SSUI also provides services and infrastructure to the Transitions for Transfer Student Population, the Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program and the ARISE Scholar Program, which are now formally encompassed by the newly-named program.
“The careful selection of a program title that encompassed this broad array of students and services was our primary concern. The Student SUccess Initiative provides a representative identity for all entities involved,” says Stephanie C. Reynolds, director of SSUI. “The new name gives recognition to the terrific student leaders of SSUI who have discovered that the program offers a way to achieve their personal goals while contributing to the University experience.”
According to Reynolds, SSUI helps students achieve the necessary focus to capitalize on the tools and experiences provided by the University. “SSUI recognizes that students who are not academically integrated could be at risk for leaving the institution if they are feeling disconnected or having a difficult time finding appropriate resources,” she says.
The name change represents the University’s continued commitment to academic success, in which SSUI plays an important role. According to Anne Shelly, executive director of the Division of Student Support and Retention, research by the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning shows that at-risk students who participate in the summer session have been four times more likely to persist in the following semester than similarly at-risk students who do not participate.
“The Student Success Initiative provides our students with opportunities to improve their academic performance in a cooperative environment,” says Horace H. Smith, associate vice president for Undergraduate Studies and Retention. According to Smith, SSUI is one of the key elements supporting the Retention Council’s goal of increasing the University’s overall graduation rate from 75 percent to 80 percent and beyond.
According to Smith, one of the program’s greatest strengths is how SSUI collaborates with other academic units. “We work closely with the schools and colleges to identify students who are best suited for this experience,” he says.
Felicia Proud, director of student support services in the College of Health Professions and Human Services, concurs. “SSUI is not just for students who are doing poorly; it encompasses all sorts of students who are seeking improvement,” says Proud. “We talk a lot with SSUI staff about how best to give students that newfound confidence and sense of fitting in, and it’s gratifying that students’ needs and SSUI’s philosophy are so similar.”
All students interested in improving their academic performance through SSUI are encouraged to talk with their college representative about enrolling in the summer residential program. More information about the program is available on the Division of Student Support and Retention’s web site at http://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/index.htm.