Last fall, incoming Stevenson University freshmen got an introduction to college life, arguably more unusual than any other preceding introduction to college life before. The various, necessary limitations put in place across SU due to the COVID-19 pandemic undeniably hampered what would otherwise have been a highly social learning experience.
But now, roughly six months into the 2020-2021 school year, the lives of freshmen Mustangs seem to have settled a bit thanks to several programs that have been put into place to help first-year students adjust to the current learning environment.
Stevenson faculty members and administrators have long been making regular adjustments to various programs in order to improve the college experience for SU freshmen. Amid COVID-19, the Stevenson community went into overdrive to ensure broad freshmen academic and social success.
For instance, Bennett Millar, a second semester SU freshman, said that faculty members are clearly still working hard to lift up new college students. “The professors have been very helpful and touch base with students individually to make sure the college experience thus far is going smoothly,” said Millar.
In the fall, SU launched the Student Assistance Program (SAP). Available to all current students, SAP provides Mustangs with free, confidential, around the clock support to manage life’s many challenges, including the following: anxiety, academic or work stress, school/work/life-balance issues, burnout, and depression, and other issues.
Stevenson’s Office of Student Success (OSS) has long offered first-year students in particular assistance with their academic goals in order to ensure success. OSS’s First-Year Student Program coordinates major programs for these students, including the following:
- Summer Orientation and Course Registration (Mustang Days)
- First Year Mentoring Programs
- First-Year Seminar
In the fall, these programs were offered remotely. Access to all Stevenson organizations and clubs remain accessible online.
On the necessity of aiding freshmen by creating and maintaining such support programs, Stevenson’s Director of Student Support, Tess Gillis, explained that she can understand how COVID-19 restrictions and regulations can disrupt first-year progress in particular – especially when it comes to remote learning challenges. “It is easy for students to get behind in an online setting when they don’t understand something and when there isn’t dialogue between the professors and the individual students face-to-face,” Gillis said, before explaining that part of her job is to help identify, fill and fix such gaps. By communicating daily with students about any issues they may have, Gillis makes sure they’re consistently aware of all the support SU has to offer them.
All SU students can peruse the various programs by accessing the Student Success site here. There, first-year students can find information on what Stevenson’s First-Year Student program has to offer.