New SUccess Series events designed to help students toward academic goals
New SUccess Series events designed to help students toward academic goalsJuly 20, 2004Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
The first weeks of the academic year can be so confusing and stressful that students-especially new students-may fall behind academically and play catch-up for the rest of the year. In fact, students’ first tastes of success or failure in the classroom often set the tone for entire academic careers, playing an important role in whether or not students persist to graduation.SUccess Series, a new Syracuse University initiative, is part of the University’s holistic approach to equipping first-year students for a positive SU experience. SUccess Series’ free seminars, in which educators, administrators and students will lead group discussions on academic coping skills and strategies, are designed to give students an early academic edge.
“Students need to arrive on campus ready to quickly identify and learn the skills that will carry them throughout their academic careers and beyond,” says Tiffany C. Rush, chair of the SUccess Series organizing committee. “SUccess Series is built around the idea of giving students the tools needed for scholarly achievement-and it costs nothing, is designed to fit students’ schedules and organized to make the best use of their time and talent.” Rush is the coordinator of student services for the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program in the Office of Graduate Preparation Programs, a unit of the Division of Student Support and Retention; Student Support and Retention is organizing the series as part of a campus-wide partnership.
Jane Neuburger, director of Student Support and Retention’s Learning Resource Center, says that SUccess Series is timed to maximize the benefit to students. “Research shows that the first several weeks of college are key predictors of academic success and, ultimately, whether or not students drop out of college,” says Neuburger. “By launching SUccess Series in early September and October, we hope to connect with students during that crucial time, making a difference now that will help students in a few years when they are juniors and seniors.”
The first event in the series will be a celebration and motivational introduction, to be held Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Underground at the Schine Student Center. Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Barry L. Wells and Horace Smith, vice president for undergraduate studies in Student Support and Retention, will deliver “Now That You’re Here, Take Charge and Succeed.” To better accommodate students’ schedules, the rest of the weekly seminars will split into two groups, each offering the same discussions: One track will be held Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Schine Student Center; the other will be held Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in first-year residence halls.
The sessions are free and open to the public; schedules, required registration and other information are available at http://students.syr.edu/orientation/welcome/success.html. Topics include: “Have You Got Style? Identifying Learning Preferences;” “168 Hours and Still Behind,” a seminar on time management; “How to Prep Like the Pros,” a test preparation primer; “Put Your IM (Shorthand) Skills to Use in the Classroom,” on note-taking; “Academic Road Rules,” a guide to academic honesty; and “The REAL World-Syracuse,” a student forum on campus life.
“The facilitators who have volunteered to support this series are a true indication of the breadth of this campus-wide collaboration,” says Smith. “In particular, the series is supportive of-and supported by-Syracuse Welcome 2004 and the Division of Student Affairs’ commitment to improving students’ first-year experiences.” According to Smith, Student Affairs’ Office of Orientation and Transition Services has played a key role in creating the series’ curriculum; other Student Affairs units participating include the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Residence Life, Office of Greek Life and Experiential Learning, and the Parents Office. Student Support and Retention’s Office of Disability Services has assisted, and other partners include The College of Arts and Sciences, the Writing Program, the School of Education and the College of Human Services and Health Professions. The Center for Support of Teaching and Learning will assess the program and its potential impact on retention and student success.
According to Stephanie Reynolds, director of the Student SUccess Initiative within Student Support and Retention, another kind of partnership is expected to drive student participation. “We are calling on faculty and student services staff across campus to make students aware of this opportunity,” she says. “The instructors and advisors who have daily interaction with students-especially new students-can really help improve these young people’s chances of success in the short term and over the long haul.”