FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2009
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW’s Academic Success Mentor Program a success with IHL
COLUMBUS, Miss. - Mississippi University for Women’s Academic Success Mentor Program was recognized as a best practice by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
The Best Practices award program is designed to highlight efforts that
create efficient and effective practices initiated at institutions in
the following four categories: Academics; Finance, Business and
Administration; Student Services and Technology. MUW’s submission, “Improving Student Success through Mentorship” won second place in the Academic Affairs category.
According to Carol Frazier, director of academic support services,
MUW’s program started in the fall 2008 semester for all new
students, both freshmen and transfer students.
“The mentor program is one component of an overall effort to promote
success among MUW students. The program was designed to provide an additional form of support for new students in a critical transitional period.”
Prior to the beginning of the fall semester, mentors were selected and
trained. Each mentor was then assigned a group of students with whom they would have contact throughout the semester. The mentors emailed students introducing themselves and explaining their role as mentor. Each week afterward the mentors sent messages to the students providing them with information about upcoming campus events, tips for success and encouragement. The students were also prompted to contact their mentor with questions or concerns, ranging from “Where is the financial aid Office?” to “How do I change my major?”
Frazier said 10 mentors, most of whom were MUW graduates, mentored approximately 400 students.
One of those mentors was Valerie Morgan, who graduated from MUW in May 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in family studies. Morgan currently serves as projects coordinator of the Main Street Columbus non-profit organization.
Morgan said she was eager to participate in the program and greatly
valued the opportunity to be able to connect and encourage new students at MUW.
“The mentor position really affirms an individual’s ability to
empathize with others and increase the perception of others’ needs,
whether they are conveyed or not.
The position also increases the need for resourcefulness and knowledge of independent and university-based support services.”
She added, “In a time where enrollment and state appropriations are a constant factor to consider in university operations, MUW continues to value each student as an individual and seeks to personalize the
admissions and academic support processes.”
Dr. Sandra Jordan, MUW provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the program truly helps students adjust quickly to college life.
“Mississippi needs more well-educated graduates entering the
workforce, but before students can graduate and begin their careers,
they must first be able to find their place in the academy. At MUW, we
believe we have an obligation to do all we can to remove stumbling
blocks that may cause students to drop out. The Academic Success Mentor Program is an example of one of our programs dedicated to student success."