A new academic program is now being offered to Saint Mary’s students through the First Generation Initiative (FGI) and the Student Success Center.
The Cardinal Success Program was created to serve academically motivated students who benefit from membership in a dedicated learning community. The program is a result of the collaboration between FGI and the Student Success Center in order to expand the initiatives and vision of FGI.
The mission of FGI is to support first-generation students academically, culturally, socially, and financially. A main component of the academic area, for example, is study hall. Study hall includes peer mentoring, access to a tutor from the Writing Studio, study groups, faculty involvement, and literacy labs.
Anne Conway, FGI’s literary specialist, is one of the faculty mentors in the program. Conway is excited for the start of the program and to share what it has to offer.
“We recognized that there is a need for a more welcoming community to certain groups of students,” Conway said. “We identified the First Generation Initiative model of working with and serving the students, [and decided] that it is worth expanding.”
Many faculty and staff were involved in building the Cardinal Success Program, including Dr. Rebecca Hopkins, dean of education; Bethany Mota Gonzalez, student success specialist-adviser; Dr. Mark Barber, associate vice president of academic affairs and academic dean; Dr. Esther Peralez, dean of student success; and Alisa Macksey, executive director of FGI.
“It is a real collaboration between groups,” Conway said. “I think it is important for us to model, as well, how we work together to do what is best for the students.”
Students who are accepted into the Cardinal Success Program will participate in a week-long retreat, have a course-designed program, and gain access to a number of academic services. The program aims to be a strong, solid foundation for the participants to achieve success as a college student.
The courses involved in the program are Integrating Academic Reading and Writing, General Psychology, Elementary Mathematical Ideas, Strategic Academic Reading, Quantitative Reasoning, and English Composition. It also includes electives of the student’s choice based on their academic interest, and an “anchor class” that is specific to each student’s academic interest with the instructor as the student’s adviser.
Students considered for the program will have a strong work ethic, be community-minded, and hold leadership characteristics. Students who are accepted into the program will arrive on campus a week prior to school starting for a retreat. In addition to First Generation Initiative scholars, the Cardinal Success Program will hold up to 15 students.
The FGI and Cardinal Success space is open to all students, and FGI strongly encourages other students to attend study hall hours and utilize resources available. Study hours are posted outside the FGI office on the first floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. Study rooms are in Saint Mary’s Hall, Rooms 132 and 134.