Parent Newsletter - May 2013
Dear VMI Parent:
As we reach the conclusion of the 2012 - 2013 academic year, I would like to take this opportunity to give you some updates on our activities at the MAC!
Both nationally and here at VMI, we see very successful high school graduates arrive with what I call an “understandable but inaccurate assessment of their degree of readiness for college academics and college life.” It is understandable because the educational system has told them that they are ready (high SAT scores, very strong high school grade point averages, etc.). However, the students’ assessment is inaccurate due to the disconnect between high school and college. New college students too often have little to no skills when it comes to time management, reading for comprehension and retention, note-taking, and test preparation and test-taking. These are skills they did not need in high school so they did not acquire them. Then they get to college and find out they are not as ready as they had thought they were!
As a result, a great deal of our attention is on the Rats! We met with the Class of 2016 during the Summer Transition Program (STP), collaborated with the S2 staff to conduct Academic Saturday workshops both semesters and create a new program (Major Study Times) to get the Rats out of Barracks to study at night, distributed free copies of THE College Success Planner, ran Operation Excel for Army ROTC Scholarship Rats, and piloted AC (Academics) 101 and 102 with COL Dellinger (Modern Languages and Cultures). We have started looking at the data from the AC courses and are very encouraged! While too small a group to have statistically significant results, the differences between the AC Rats, the AC applicants not chosen (control group), and the non-AC Rats are worth noting. As of Spring 2013 midterm, the cumulative GPA was 2.76 for AC Rats, 2.68 for AC applicants not selected, and 2.69 for non-AC Rats. Please visit the FYI@VMI website for more details. I would like to think that the MAC has contributed along with the Open Math Lab, the Writing Center, the faculty, and many other great departments on Post to seeing this class earn the highest end of first semester GPA ever at VMI! Congratulations to the Class of 2016!
Both Rats and cadets also participated in Group Study Sessions (GSS) offered for a number of the Rat courses. The GSSs were led by upperclassmen who work closely with faculty. We piloted an enhanced version of the program this semester called GSS+. For these groups, the faculty member met with the cadet facilitators outside of the GSS to debrief on the previous week’s meeting and plan for the upcoming meeting. This team approach increased the strength of the program as departments were more involved in the planning and delivery of the information and strategies. By all accounts, the cadets greatly appreciated this opportunity to enhance their learning of the course material.
As you visit our website, you will see that we offer additional programs such as Project Success (for cadets on academic probation) and Seminars on Academic Success (for any cadet who wants to enhance his/her academic success skills). You will also see throughout our programs that we rely very heavily on the successful and generous cadets who serve as cadet facilitators.We strive to make their time with us provide an opportunity both for them to give back to VMI and to develop/enhance their leadership skills. Their involvement greatly elevates the credibility and quality of our programs. Frankly, we could not do what we do without them!
This summer we will be busy assessing the past year and making plans for the upcoming one. We will also be working again with the STP students and inviting the incoming Rats to apply for one of the 50 seats in AC 101/102. The MAC staff is in the office all summer so if you are on Post, I hope you and your Rat or cadet will stop by. As a VMI parent, you have the ability to contribute to your cadet's academic success through your support of his or her hard work and dedication to taking the "path less traveled." This is a very special institution and the cadets are themselves very special! I hope that you will encourage your cadet to read our emails, stop by our office (202 Carroll Hall), and use our programs and services. Cadets can walk in or make an appointment with us. You can visit our homepage to see the schedule for the programs. I also invite you to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions for our office. It will be great to hear from you!
LTC Elaine Humphrey, Ph.D.
Director, Miller Academic Center
Director of Teacher Education