When you come to college, going to class is your choice. No need to set your alarm clock two hours before classes starts, no parents waking you out of your perfect dream of David Beckham or Halle Berry, you have finally taken you last walk to the bus stop!
Before you start singing “I can see clearly now” by Johnny Nash, or even think about running through your fields of dandy lines, your choice of choosing to go to class or not may become one of the biggest decisions you make in your college career.
In fall of 2012, Missouri Valley College welcomed the new Student Success program. The Student Success Program brings together a variety of student support services to increase retention and help more students graduate. The program focuses on student attendance, academic success, orientation, and other issues for which students might struggle.
Knowing students struggle with transitioning from high school to college, Dawn Medley, director of Student Success, said, “We want to help students attend class, and also navigate them to the learning center, counseling center, and ADA office if they are struggling in their classes.”
Paul Harmon, former Missouri Valley student and Retention coordinator, can relate to getting up for classes every day, let alone attending them on time for the whole year.
“My job is to help students be successful, giving them that ‘kick in the butt’ that I also needed when I was a student here,” Harmon said.
Student Retention also tries to keep students interested in Valley by informing students about groups and activities, such as intramurals.
Although the program is going well, some students have mixed feelings about the new attendance policy. What is the new attendance policy? If a student misses three or more classes in a week (most students have three or more classes in one day), a meeting will be scheduled with Retention Coordinator Harmon. Consequences vary from having mandatory study hours and academic reports to even being sent home.
Senior Robert Tinker said the program is legit, knowing most of Missouri Valley students are involved in sport scholarships. “The school invests in us, so we need to hold up our end and be held accountable for attending class,” said Tinker
Being a senior at Valley, class time is more crucial and Tinker said he takes his classes more seriously. “I hardly ever miss class,” Tinker added.
Senior Lynn Elliott said, “You never know what could happen with someone, car trouble, sickness, or may even live off campus and can’t find a ride to school.” Approved excused absences are school-related events such as sporting events or classroom-involved activities. A doctor’s note and even a death in the family are counted as unexcused absences.
This attendance policy is an adjustment for both students and faculty as well; faculty members are required to fill out attendance online.
Missouri Valley faculty members have been great participants in filling out reports, Medley said, adding that there was an instructor “with no absences in her class this week.”
Senior Sami Jackson said, “In previous years, an athlete could miss as many classes they want, and still play, but now they have to attend most of their classes which I like.” Jackson also said that there are some absences that have a reasonably excuse. “For that, I don’t think we should be punished.”
The average number of students that Harmon sees in one day ranges from 15 to 20, and not all in his office because of retention, as some students go to receive help with their classes.
To prevent walking up three flights of stairs in the Ferguson Center and visiting Harmon, students are advised to attend class and “try to see me before the situation gets out of hand.” He also advises students to engage in constant communication with instructors.
The Student Success program offers help to any student in need. If you are struggling in classes and would like to take steps to success, visit Dawn Medley or Paul Harmon on the top floor of the Ferguson Center.