September 9, 2008
Twenty-six Oklahoma Baptist University students have committed to promoting academic excellence for their peers through service and support as tutors and mentors at the university's Student Success Center, which opened on campus Sept 8.
The Success Center is designed for students of all majors, classifications and academic needs aiding in comprehension of course material as well as in the development of study, research, reading, writing and analytical and critical thinking skills. Student workers offer tutoring in most core subjects as well as mathematics, chemistry, physics, accounting and economics.
"Success looks different for each student," said Monica Mullins, OBU's director of student success. "For some students, success is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average with honors. For other students, success is graduating."
The Success Center also offers academic peer mentoring and assistance in developing formal learning plans to aid students in their academic journeys at OBU. The center features a writing center, geared toward assisting students in all areas of composition, proof-reading, research methods and thesis development.
"Our philosophy in the Success Center is one of both challenge and support," Mullins said. "If all we do is support the student, we haven't given them the tools to succeed. But if all we do is challenge them, they're equally likely to fail. So what we have to do is strike a balance for each student."
The 26 student leaders range from sophomores to seniors, each chosen through a competitive interview process. The senior supervisor is Mackenzie Hufty, an English and public relations double major from Hannibal, Mo.; the junior supervisor is Brent Schmidt, an English major from Bartlesville, Okla.; and the sophomore office assistant is Jenna Butner, a nursing major from Seminole, Okla.
"It is my hope that my fellow students will see their time in the Success Center as time well spent towards achieving academic excellence," Hufty said. "We desire for all to be successful - we wouldn't have put it in our name if we weren't serious about it - and for our staff it is essential that we see students succeeding."
One challenge the center faces is helping students overcome the potentially negative connotation of asking for help. However, Mullins said she finds such hindrances largely stem from perceptions left over from high school; she believes many college students in this generation prefer to receive help from their peers. The Success Center aims to provide that opportunity.
"The program is a unique learning venue because its flexibility allows for tutoring sessions to be offered wherever students are most comfortable - whether that is in the Student Success Center, out on Raley Lawn, or even in the Geiger Center (the university's student center)," Butner said.
Mullins emphasized that the center aims to enhance the faculty/student relationship. She has encouraged faculty members to refer students to the center, which will help to reinforce what students learn in the classroom.
"I want people who come to the Student Success Center to be able to feel more confident in their abilities as a student and to feel capable of excelling in any academic endeavor," Schmidt said.