Heather Calvert’s report from the 2017 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference in Detroit

It was a great conference. I came off without my notes today, but here is a short overview: Peer mentors, or in class peer tutors are proving to be successful based on outcomes from other programs in use by schools presenting. There is a large focus on equity services, that some students need more assistance than others, or different types of interventions. I was impressed by a presentation by Harper College who has partnered with their in-district high schools to help better prepare students to enter college ready to take College English and Math. They have also established a program that allows students to “earn” their education based on their performance in high school, which includes areas beyond just their academic performance (attendance, turning in homework assignments in addition to a relatively modest GPA requirement (I can’t remember if it was a 2.0 or a 2.5). They identified these factors by going into the business community in their area and finding out what basic skills employers were looking for: showing up on time, being trainable, etc.

I also sat in on a few really good programs geared towards first generation students. One was a program developed by UM Deaborn, which provides a scholarship to first generation college students who are required to earn “points” each term by engaging in campus resources, or events. They have a full time advisor to help counsel the students and host events for the group, but they have taken on a persona kind of like a student organization with pins that they wear to help spread the word about the program, and to identify themselves to faculty/staff/students.

The other presentation that sticks out in my mind was a partnership between a Local College Access Network (Local branch of MCAN, I don’t know that we have those as a part of ICAN), and local community foundation, and a 4 yr. institution. Their program also focusses on first generation students, but has a graduate student (in counselor ed program) who serves as a mentor/counselor to students awarded the scholarship from the community foundation. The award is renewable and is not tied to a school. The community foundation had a change in focus so now when someone wants to start a scholarship with them, they focus on this program, as opposed to encouraging the donor to set up strict guidelines (someone majoring in math who came from Milan).

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