Academic Mentoring Program Boosts Student Success at Genesee Community College

An innovative academic initiative – the “Academic Mentoring Program for Educational Development” (AMPED) – at Genesee Community College is helping students significantly improve their academic performance, Dr.

An innovative academic initiative – the “Academic Mentoring Program for Educational Development” (AMPED) – at Genesee Community College is helping students significantly improve their academic performance, Dr. Virginia M. Taylor, vice president for Student and Enrollment Services, reported to the Board of Trustees Monday night.

The program was initially rolled out three years ago with Genesee’s student-athletes, a group of students who underperform academically at many colleges and universities. Genesee’s AMPED program, however, can be used with any group of students, such as students enrolled in a particular academic discipline, students living on campus, or at-risk students receiving tutoring and support services.

The initial results of the AMPED program show student athletes at Genesee earning above-average grades, and in many instances, outperforming non-athletes. These range from an average quality point index of 2.49 among women’s basketball players (roughly equivalent to a C+) to a QPI of 3.29 for women’s volleyball players (roughly equivalent to a B+). Fall-to-fall retention of student athletes was 68% last year, compared to Genesee’s overall retention rate of 57%, Dr. Taylor reported.

The AMPED program is based on a growing body of educational research suggesting that academic performance can be dramatically improved through intensive student engagement and timely intervention. AMPED activities include:

  • Mandatory participation in Genesee’s Student Success Center by student-athletes who have quality point indexes below 2.99 (roughly equivalent to a “B”). The Success Center is a quiet study location where staff members are available to provide academic assistance to students. Students participate from between two and four hours each week, depending on their academic performance.
  • Academic monitoring, including weekly faculty reporting on academic performance and absences. Reporting is 100% electronic, with results available immediately to student services staff who can then quickly contact students experiencing the first signs of academic difficulty.
  • Skills challenges, which provide student recognition for participation in student and leadership development activities, community service, inclusion on the Dean’s List or President’s list, and participation in other events.

The College hopes to bring the AMPED program to other groups of students in the near future, Dr. Taylor told trustees. “We are very excited and pleased by the academic results we are seeing from this initiative,” she said. “We believe we have a program that can boost student success among at-risk students and the student body in general. We know that expanding the program will require much faculty and staff commitment, the results will be worth it.”

Board Chair Charles R. Ruffino noted that the program has begun to attract attention across the United States.
In other business Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:

  •  Heard Trustee Diane D. Torcello, Chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, report that the Committee completed work on the “presidential profile” that outlines the qualities desired in Genesee’s fourth president. Ms. Torcello said that Academic Search, Inc., a not-for-profit educational search firm, is coordinating the presidential search, and is now seeking applications from qualified candidates.
  •  Heard Director of Athletics Margaret A. Sisson report on the Genesee Cougars’ extraordinary fall season. The Men’s Baseball Team (15-3 record) won the Western New York Athletic Conference Championship and six athletes were named to the all-conference team. The Men’s Soccer Team (15-2 record) won three contests against Division I teams, and three members were named all-region athletes. The Women’s Volleyball Team (34-8 record) won the district championship and qualified for the nationals. The Women’s Soccer Team (19-2-1 record) was ranked #1 in the nation by the NJCAA and competed in the nationals, ultimately losing to Clinton Community College. “This was a tremendous season,” Ms. Sisson told trustees. “I’m not sure we will ever see a record like this again.” Board Chair Charles R. Ruffino asked Ms. Sisson to convey trustees’ congratulations to the coaches and student-athletes.
  • Heard Vice President for Finance and Operations Kevin P. Hamilton report that the College has asked nursing students to complete a safety survey. The College is especially interested in learning about traffic and road-crossing problems nursing students may have.
  •  Heard Mr. Hamilton report that the roof unit for the new Roz Steiner Art Gallery will ship the week of November 23. Interior work, including drywall and framing is being done at the present time. Mr. Hamilton also reported that a new sound system and projector will soon be installed in the William W. Stuart Forum. Mr. Hamilton said that the new sound system should improve sound quality, and enable more activities, such as movies, to be offered in the Forum.
  •  Heard Board Chair Charles Ruffino and other trustees comment on the recent Association of Community College Trustees Conference. Six trustees participated. A highlight of the conference was “Work in Progress – Creating a Culture of Student Success,” a presentation conducted by Trustee Melvin J. Wentland, President Stuart Steiner, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Virginia M. Taylor, and Vice President for Human Resources and Planning Larene Hoelcle. The presentation tracked Genesee’s successful efforts to provide academic intervention to at-risk students and increase grade point averages. “I was very proud of the presentation,” Mr. Ruffino said. “It was thoughtful and backed by hard data.” Genesee’s presentation attracted a standing-room only audience.
  •  Heard President Stuart Steiner report that Kevin Manne will join Genesee’s staff in December as New Media Coordinator. Mr. Manne, a Corfu resident, is currently a member of the communications staff of Catholic Charities of Buffalo. He holds an A.S. degree from Genesee Community College, a B.A. degree in Public Communication from the University at Buffalo, and a certificate in Web Design and Web Development from the University at Buffalo. Dr. Steiner also reported that Michael S. Stoll, Associate Vice President and Dean of Math, Science and Career Education, plans to retire next summer. Dean Stoll has served as a faculty member and administrator at Genesee since 1968.
  • Heard Director of Development and External Affairs Richard Ensman report that several members of the Branding and Identity Committee will gather next week to review results of the online panel that critiqued proposed Genesee Community College graphic designs. The Committee hopes to bring a proposal for new graphic marks to the Board of Trustees in the near future, Mr. Ensman said.
  •  Heard Dr. Taylor report that the College had received 4,881 applications from prospective full-time students, of which 3,920 were complete and contained all required materials. One thousand seven hundred eighty-three individuals actually enrolled, for a “yield” of 45%. Seven hundred thirty three individuals submitted complete applications for part-time study, and 544 individuals enrolled, for a “yield” of 66%. Genesee had a record enrollment of 7,365 students this fall. President Stuart Steiner said that early indications suggest that Spring 2011 semester enrollment will be strong.
  • Heard Katharina E. Kovach-Allen report that Genesee will offer a limited number of classes at Attica Correctional Facility beginning with the Spring 2011 semester. Courses will be directed toward inmates scheduled for release within the next five years, and will serve a maximum of 36 individuals. Spring classes will include First Year Experience, College Composition, and U.S. History 1865 to Present. The program is being funded with an anonymous donation.

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