The following programs support new undergraduates as they make their transition into the University at Albany community. These comprehensive support services include the study groups, academic early warning program, university tutors, independent tutoring program, faculty mentoring programs, and study skills workshops. Also, other Office of Academic Support Services programs include Project Excel, C-Step/AGEP/LSAM Program, and STEP.
Study Group Plan
In 24 freshman classes, the Office sponsors study groups free of charge to all students. A study group consists of several students in a given course that decide to meet on a regular basis for discussions, analysis, and reviewing of course material. Participation in a study group can be an excellent way to prepare for exams, since participants must organize their thinking about course topics and present, or defend, their individual perspectives before the group. Study groups emphasize the student’s active involvement with course material.
Participants are encouraged to re-examine concepts, to question or to challenge each other with respect to course topics. Study groups can also help to maintain a high level of interest and enthusiasm towards course work and allow students to examine ways in which the course is personally meaningful or relevant to their college goals.
Coordinated by a graduate student who serves as a facilitator, the objectives of the student group concept are: (1) to clarify course material through restatement or illustrations, using familiar terms and concepts, and (2) to assist study group members in learning course material and achieving success in the course.
Each study group, in addition to the facilitator, may have University Tutors on hand to assist with questions and problems. These tutors, who are undergraduate honors students, will at times also offer individualized assistance to those study group students who seek special attention.
Academic Early Warning System
The main objective of the Academic Early Warning System is to have professors identify students experiencing problems and to encourage them to utilize available academic and advising support services in order to overcome their difficulties. This warning is in lieu of a mid-semester grade.
The designated university courses include the following: A Bio 110, 111; A Chm 120, 121, 220, 221; A Psy 101, 210, 211; I Csi 101, 201; A Soc 115, 221; A Eco 110, 111; A Mat 101, 106, 108, 111, 112, 113; and B Acc 211, 222; A Phy 105, 108.
During the fifth week of the semester, this composite list of potential failures will be circulated to the academic advisers of these students so that they can encourage the following help: 1) conference with faculty member of particular course; 2) consultation with academic/faculty adviser; 3) participation in respective study group (all of the
Academic Early Warning System courses are an integral part of the study group plan); and 4) involvement with an independent tutor. Also, a staff member from the Office of Academic Support Services will contact the students, advising them of their options.
Independent Tutoring Program
The Office of Academic Support Services provides the student community with an updated listing of academically successful students who are available to tutor students on a one to one basis. These independent tutors have taken the course in which they tutor and have received a B+ or higher. These independent tutors must have at least 3.0 cumulative academic averages, secure faculty recommendations, pass the personal interview, and complete a tutoring orientation.
Faculty Mentoring Program
Matriculated students at the University at Albany are eligible to participate in one of the faculty mentoring programs. If enrolled in a program, it is expected that the student be willing to interact with a faculty or professional staff member in a mentoring partnership.
University mentoring programs take many forms and address different groups including the following: Presidential Scholars; academic probationers; multicultural recruitment students; special talent admits; and other students, especially incoming freshmen seeking support.
For a new freshman or a continuing student with academic needs, family or personal problems, the value of a trusted friend, confidante, guide and role model is obvious. For mentors, a one-to-one relationship can be an opportunity to give another person the guidance and support they once received from their own mentors.
Mentoring is not an easy job; it is not a job quickly accomplished. Yet helping and guiding a young person may be the most important work a volunteer will ever do.
Study Skills Workshops
Study skills workshops are offered free of charge to all students, especially freshmen. These one-hour sessions provide an opportunity to acquire skills vital to achieving academic success. Titles of workshops include time management, textbook mastery, learning from lecture, memory enhancement, listening skills, examination preparation, examination strategies, multiple choice examination skills, and final exam preparation.
Providing academic supportive assistance designed to increase the retention and graduate rates of two hundred low-income, first generation, and disabled students is the primary intent of the Project Excel Program. Funded by a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Project Excel is a Student Support Services Program (A TRIO Program). Project Excel will strive to achieve its goal of a graduation rate of 70% of its participants by offering the following services: supplementary academic advisement, personal counseling, career planning, financial aid planning and information; peer mentoring; study skills workshops; instruction in pre-college biology; tutoring; professional and graduate school speakers; graduate school seminars; and field trips to local industries.
The premise of this program is to provide students from historically underrepresented groups (African-American, Latino, and Native American) and low-income backgrounds and who are first generation college students, with an opportunity to pursue M.D. and/or Ph. D. degree in science and technology. The program seeks to recruit second year undergraduate students who are majors in science and/or technology including (but not limited to) mathematics, chemistry, biology, pre-med, public health, physics, economics, or computer science with a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.8 or higher. These participants are provided with faculty research opportunities during the summer. In addition, there is other programming to assist students with their eventual goal of securing the undergraduate degree, as well as the Ph.D.
This program serves middle and high school students in the City of Albany. The Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP), which is co-sponsored by Academic Support Service at the University at Albany, State University of New York continues to bring the college experience to the urban and city communities in Albany, New York. STEP is part of a statewide body that is conducted by the State Education Department.
STEP prepares historically underrepresented and/or economically disadvantaged elementary and secondary school students to acquire the aptitude and skills necessary to pursue post-secondary degree programs that lead to professional careers in the scientific, technical, health-related or other licensed professions.
The program also challenges parents and educators to become involved in the process to support the development of our “community of learners.”
Students are expected to participate in and attend the annual statewide conference.
The goals of the program are as follows:
- To stimulate, challenge and encourage students to achieve in a technological setting.
- Introduce students to a variety of careers in the fields of Math, Science and Technology.
- To meet people in the industry and in education and to encourage students to pursue careers in Math, Science and Technology.
- To provide a non-threatening environment for students.
The benefits of the STEP follow:
- Academic Instruction
- Technology-based Projects
- Field Trips
- Enrichment Activities