New SHIP initiative gives struggling VC students a second chance

Joseph Smullen

Victoria College students struggling to earn passing grades now have a second chance at college success through VC’s new Students Having Improved Plans (SHIP) initiative.

Launched during the spring semester, SHIP is designed to help students placed on enforced withdrawal – those whose GPA is below 2.0 for two consecutive semesters. These students typically cannot take credit classes the following semester, but they have the option of submitting an appeal and requesting to participate in the SHIP initiative.

Students placed on academic probation – a warning status for those whose GPA is below 2.0 for one semester – are also encouraged to participate in the SHIP initiative.

SHIP is all about giving students another chance to raise their grades to an acceptable level, according to Joseph Smullen, VC’s Advising & Counseling Services counselor.

“These students are at risk of not being able to achieve their goals,” Smullen said. “After experiencing some failures in school, they tend to give up. It’s like being your own worst enemy. Your negative self-talk is talking you out of the idea that you can accomplish your goal.”

While enrolled in SHIP, students must improve their cumulative GPA to a 2.0 or higher and attend at least two face-to-face student success workshops. They are also required to receive monthly academic advising, meet with their assigned faculty advisor at least two times during the semester, and visit the Betty East Tutoring Center two hours per week.

“We are enhancing the student’s capacity to address their own needs,” he said. “This way, they are able to adapt to college life and the challenges in their environment.”

Students participating in the SHIP initiative must also attend “The Institute of Inspiration” workshop where they develop five self-statements to enhance their belief, motivation and determination to be successful in college. They can then attend any three of seven interactive workshops.

Smullen conducts most of the face-to-face workshops, four of which are specific for SHIP.

Thirty students participated in the SHIP initiative during the spring, and Smullen hopes more students will participate next semester.

VC student Sheryl Collins said SHIP helped improve her grades and academic performance.

“SHIP helped me become a go-getter and not badger myself to do it my way,” said Collins. “The workshops and counseling with the SHIP team were really helpful.”

Smullen said plans are in the works to add more workshops and make them accessible to students online.

"Our larger plan is to build that relationship with the student,” he said. “We want to link them to the right resources so they are able to pass their classes and become successful in college and life.”

Published: Friday, 22 May 2015
 

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