Freshman Academy for Diverse Students Building "Culture of Achievement"

file photo from Freshman Academy for Diverse Students

With the establishment last fall of the Freshman Academy for Diverse Students at Eastern Kentucky University, Coordinator Dr. Salome Nnoromele hoped to build “a culture of achievement.”

The results from its first semester suggest the Academy is well on its way to doing just that.

Forty-seven of the 51 Academy participants (92 percent) were in good academic standing heading into the current spring semester. The participants’ average GPA for the fall was 2.97, eclipsing the average GPA for all freshman minority students, and 14 students achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The Academy’s formula for success is hardly complicated.

“The students felt comfortable knowing someone cares for them,” Nnoromele explained. “A community of faculty, staff and students really cared for them, and they felt at home.”

Each Academy participant benefited from mentoring by an EKU faculty or staff member and, in some cases, an older, more experienced student. 

“We wanted to understand the diverse student population a lot better,” Nnoromele added. “Working more closely with them allowed us to understand the challenges they face. We were better able to advocate for students and identify their needs. They (the students) can do the work. It’s just a matter of guiding them and providing them with the resources they need to be successful.”

EKU’s African/African American Studies Program partnered with several campus offices to launch the Academy. The year-long interactive learning experience provides first-year students with the information, encouragement and direction they need to successfully navigate college life and reach their academic, personal and professional goals.

Activities include a day-long college skills conference and various interactive workshops as well as academic and social activities. Students who complete the program have the opportunity to win book and tuition scholarships.

Next year’s mentors in the program will include 2014-15 Academy participants.

This year’s Academy includes African American, Latino and international students. The GPA and ACT composite scores of the minority students who participated in the Academy were virtually comparable to their non-participating freshman minority classmates.

Participation in the Academy is by self-selection. For more information, visit freshmanacademy.eku.edu or contact Dr. Salome Nnoromele at salome.nnoromele@eku.edu or 859-622-8676.

Published on January 28, 2015

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