COLUMBUS, Miss.-- As dean of the School of Education at Mississippi University for Women, Dr. Martin Hatton has helped make it easier for Mississippi community college students to transfer to The W. But Hatton has been trying to figure out ways to make the transition from school to school even easier.
Earlier this summer, Hatton had his epiphany. The result is a Self-Anchoring Student Support Model that will enable The W to recruit more students from Mississippi’s community colleges and make it easier for students at community college partner schools to come to The W.
“This is incredibly important because each student will be co-advised simultaneously at each institution,” Hatton said. “One of the key benefits of our partnership pathway programs is our coordinated support for each student moving through the pathway from the community college to The W.”
Hatton came up with the idea at the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy meeting at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He discussed the idea with Matthew Robinson, the student success navigator for community college partnerships, and wanted to improve the advising process with the School of Education’s current community college partners: Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C., Itawamba C.C. and Copiah-Lincoln C.C. Hatton said he focused on developing a model that keeps key advisers mutually engaged so things are working for the students at both ends of the process.
“Community college students become very familiar with their schools and have expectations about how things are and will be done, but things will be different when they transition to The W, so getting to know faculty and staff at The W early on and building connections with people they can trust even before they come to The W is a benefit,” Hatton said. “They know us before they make the transition.”
Robinson envisions the student success navigators at The W being “advocates” for the students in the Self-Anchoring Student Support Model. He said advisers at the community colleges and Jewel Bishop, a student success navigator for The W’s School of Education, will handle the academic advising work. Robinson said he will assist students to ensure they are reaching out to the right people and getting the best advice they can. He also will coordinate with The W and the community colleges.
“I think it’s going to make the transition a lot easier for those students interested in early childhood education or elementary education at The W,” Robinson said. “By having a unified front for advising, both institutions will be able to give proper guidance and a clear path to degree completion.”
The W already has established itself as one of the nation’s premier institutions for transfer students. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked The W as the No. 1 community college partnership friendly institution in terms of Masters level public institutions. Hatton said the creation of the Self-Anchoring Student Support Model will enhance The W’s ability to recruit transfer students and to ensure their success when they arrive on campus.
“Each academic program that has created community college pathway programs has ways to ensure students are successful,” Hatton said. “This will be our initial attempt to formalize a simple but strong co-advising model designed to support each student moving through our pathway programs in Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education. Our goal is to create better support for each student and to ensure continuous engagement with our community college partners. Doing so only helps clarify our commitment to our pathway partners about our commitment to each student and to each community college partnership, demonstrating how we value our community college partners.”
Robinson said the model will clearly define all of the steps transfers need to take to be successful at their community college and to parlay that work into success at The W.
“By giving students a clear roadmap to completion, we are addressing some of the anxiety that comes with transferring,” Robinson said. “Our students want to know how long it’s going to take to get their degree and how much it’s going to cost. Providing a step-by-step guide that answers those questions will be a big part in helping those students avoid some of the pitfalls that they may face transitioning from one institution to another.”
The Bebe Roberts Freeman Scholarship will make the transition to The W’s School of Education even easier. The scholarship is awarded annually on a competitive basis to incoming college transfer students to the School of Education’s Anchor Points program. It awards $2,000 per year to help an Elementary Education major with academic-related expenses.
For more information about Anchor Points, please visit https://www.muw.edu/education/anchorpoints.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 29, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino