Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-07-31

A new Academic Success Center will afford Samford University students one more strong resource to enable them to make the most of their college experience.

Through an enhanced orientation process, a success mentoring program and foundations courses that help with the sometimes scary first-year transition to college life, the center will offer students a full-service nudge toward academic success.

Bridget Rose is the inaugural director of the center, which brings together some new services with others that were formerly housed in the Office of Freshman Life. Rose, who earned a Master of Theological Studies at Samford's Beeson Divinity School in 2000 and has been curator of Beeson's Hodges Chapel since 2001, also has taught cultural perspectives courses and advised undeclared Samford students.

Rose, who sees her new job as "assisting the student in making the transition from Admissions to his or her academic home in the University," says the first step is prepare the new students for advising and registration. 

All freshmen-and their parents-will meet with Rose during orientation.

"The office will assist with changes of major during orientation and function as a help center for general questions about majors, course load, the advising process and any other academic concerns," explains Rose, who works closely with the Samford admissions staff and academic and professional advisors.

Available help doesn't stop with orientation.

The center's Success Mentoring Program will offer support in a variety of ways.

         Conditionally-admitted students and others at risk for academic difficulty will be encouraged to meet with the director and take advantage of all available resources.

         A series of seminars will offer help with adjustment, career counseling, study skills and other needs.

         Tutoring and support sessions will allow discussion of common texts in the Cultural Perspectives courses.

         Assistance with obtaining tutors as needed in particular academic departments.

         A student who may be struggling in the spring and placed on academic warning will be urged to connect with a Success Mentor for weekly meetings that will allow the mentor to provide one-on-one support.

The Foundations program includes a first year experience course that answers the driving questions such as ´Why Am I Here?" "Who Am I?" and "How do I Live Responsibly?" The course, taught by faculty and staff who serve as both advocates and mentors, covers such topics as time management, campus involvement and faculty-student relationships.

                "Although the course is not required, about 70 percent of Samford freshmen enroll," says Rose, who also will teach core curriculum courses in addition to her duties with the Center.

The course is followed by a Foundations Peer Mentoring class that is designed to develop students' instructional and leadership skills.

The Center will work closely with Samford's counseling and disability support services offices and the career development center.

Dana Basinger, who formerly directed the Office of Freshman Life, has been appointed assistant dean in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences, where she will oversee an advising center. She will work with faculty of the school's 18 departments to ensure an effective advising experience for arts and sciences majors, with keen attention to retention. She also will oversee advising of undeclared majors throughout the university.

 
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.