This fall, flexibility has been the name of the game. We’ve all been tasked with adapting to find success in a challenging environment. Our student support services are no exception, as providing opportunities for students to feel connected is more important than ever in these turbulent times. The Recruitment & Retention Team has increased its support in and out of the classroom to help our students navigate through the semester. While these changes were in the works before COVID, the pandemic has exacerbated the need for these investments.
This fall, we implemented the new Chambers Peer Mentorship program that places successful upperclassmen mentors in sections of our Freshman Seminar, BCOR 191. These students serve as a role model and resource to freshmen. Paired with an instructor in BCOR 191, capped at 25 students per section and taught by student support staff, often on a volunteer basis, Peer Mentors provide an additional level of support and guidance as students adjust to college life. Mentors share their insights, advice, and experiences with mentees both in class and in virtual one-on-one meetings. Through this course, freshmen are introduced to our expectations at the Chambers College and learn how to navigate the world of higher education – with a particular eye on setting the stage for business success. The addition of peer mentorship provides a valuable opportunity to improve freshmen retention while simultaneously increasing the engagement, satisfaction and leadership development of mentors. The rollout of this new program couldn’t have come at a better time given the social connection challenges reported by many students in our current environment.
The CLIMB Living Learning Community on the 9th floor of Summit Hall has participated in two events this semester – a young alumni panel with five fantastic recent graduates and a captivating presentation on an introduction to credit and investing by Dr. Naomi Boyd. Chambers Ambassadors, now led by Chris Morlock, have also assisted with engagement of our freshmen through panel discussions and other activities.
Support is not solely for freshmen; older students benefit from continued activity in our student organizations, and through our tutoring services in the AeSC. In fact, we have logged more tutoring appointments at this point in the semester than we did in fall 2019, which is a testament to our Neidermeyer Scholars and Tynetta Johnson, who manages the program. Similarly, on the advising side of the house we’ve held hundreds more appointments at this point in the semester compared to fall 2019.
Additional support services are underway thanks to Retention Specialist Jenn Jones. Jenn has further developed and implemented remediation services for academically at risk students on academic probation.
It truly takes a village to support our students. While that village may be virtual right now, the collaborative efforts of the Recruitment and Retention team and the outstanding student leaders we have the privilege of working with, we are proud to continue providing dedicated support to our undergraduates. The lessons learned in this environment will make us even better in years to come.