Spotlight on Student Success #2 – January 21, 2015
Union County College Owls’ Boot Camp
Union County College “Owls” student-athletes are running up the score thanks to a program called “Owls Boot Camp.”
In this game, though, a winning score is measured in grade point average. Launched in Fall 2013, the program has given a big boost to the GPAs of the College’s 160 students who participate in Union’s seven women’s and seven men’s intercollegiate sports.
The Boot Camp provides mandatory study and tutoring time every week—in-season and off-season—for student-athletes through the College’s Academic Learning Center, a peer-tutoring service at the College. Together with ALC staff and College advisors, coaches monitor their athletes’ attendance in ALC sessions as well as their students’ academic progress.
Union’s Dean of College Life Tammy Smith challenged the coaching staff to improve each team’s collective GPA. “Getting our students to graduation is more important than winning championships. We hold our coaches and athletes responsible for achieving classroom success, first and foremost.”
The stat sheet tells you that the program is a winner. During the year preceding the birth of the Boot Camp, only 11 athletes had GPAs over 3.0.
A year later, 53 student-athletes have raised their cumulative GPAs to the B and above level as of Fall 2014. That’s more than 30 percent of the College’s student-athletes. And three of these student-athletes are keeping up a perfect 4.0.
Student Development Vice President Helen Brewer appreciates how students and staff are working together. “This is a team effort, a shared accountability, involving our College Life Department together with ALC staff, academic advisors, faculty, tutors, coaches, and most important our students. It’s a commitment from athletes in every sport to make academic success their top priority.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Union County College student and women’s soccer player Alexandra Mescavage working out her pencil during one of her weekly sessions in an Academic Learning Center “Owls’ Boot Camp.”