“The most important thing I learned today is that I am not alone, and many people have the same exact struggles as me. This made me feel much more calm going into the spring semester.” – Summit 2023 Attendee
Over 140 students attended one of two Student Success Summits in January, hosted by the Office of Student Success and the First Year Experience. Designed to support first-year students who would have been on academic warning after their first semester (based on their fall grades), the summit was also open to any other student who wanted to refocus for the spring.
Keynote speakers Claude E. Taylor (virtual), Director for Academic Transition and Inclusion at Monmouth University in New Jersey and TiElla Grimes (in-person), Founder of InnHer Uplift Consulting, life coach, speaker and facilitator, both first-generation college students who challenged our students to believe in their ability to achieve success. Students were then able to select from workshops in two separate sessions based on their interest, presented by graduate student staff. Session one included topics “starting off strong,” “winter wellness” and “keeping the main thing the main thing.” Session two included “conquering procrastination,” “connecting with faculty,” and “when you feel like an impostor.” Session topics were selected based on feedback from students and graduate student success coaches.
Participants also had the opportunity to hear from Salem State University faculty who shared their tips and recommendations for achieving success in the classroom. Panelists included professors Leslie Duhaylongsod, secondary and higher education, James Gubbins, interdisciplinary studies, Claire McCarthy, English, Eric Metchik, criminal justice, Miguel Montalva Barba, sociology, Betsy Miller, music and dance, Janet Neely, interdisciplinary studies, Anne Noonan, psychology, and Keja Valens, English.
Program assessment demonstrated a strong impact on participants: every workshop session was ranked well above a 4.0 on a 1-5 scale, with 1 as "strongly disagree" and 5 as "strongly agree" when it came to session content being helpful, learning something from the session, speakers being engaging, and the session addressing concerns students had about the spring semester. The keynote speaker, faculty panel, and summit overall also received similarly high marks for the degree of motivation and sharing information that was helpful in planning for spring classes. Eighty-eight percent of students indicated they agreed or strongly agreed that the Success Summit provided them valuable tips/motivation to be successful during the spring semester.
Student comments were equally positive (select examples):
- “This was a great experience and I feel more prepared now than ever.”
- “The most important thing I learned today was how many people are surrounding me to help my success. As well as how easy it can be to reach out.”
- “Honestly all of the topics i learned about today, i found them all very helpful. procrastination is something i struggle a lot with and know that many of my friends do as well so that topic definitely helped a lot, along with wellness in the winter because i feel as though the stress of everything may make it hard to remember to take care of yourself throughout the months.”
- “I loved how understanding the professors were, and how they mentioned that they want us to be successful, and want nothing but the best for all of their students, and people attending Salem State.”
Interested in being a part of next year’s Student Success Summit? Contact Megan Wigton in the Office of Student Success and the First Year Experience. Want to learn more about the various resources in place to support student success at Salem State University? Visit the Student Success Canvas page.