University celebrates new Student-Athlete Academic Support Lab

Delta State gathered for a special celebration Sept. 29 to introduce the remodeled and upgraded Academic Support Lab, the home of the new Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Lab staff, President Willam N. LaForge and Provost Dr. Charles McAdams provided remarks at the ceremony, and attendees were welcomed with a BBQ luncheon.

Funding for project renovation was provided by MDHS to launch the Student-Athlete Support Services program. The lab, which opened last semester, now hosts over 320 students each week who receive academic support. Additionally, the program will offer academic coaching and programs aimed at increasing student-athlete retention rates. MDHS has contributed funding for the partnership through 2017 with the possibility of renewed funding in coming years.

The lab includes peer tutoring in a variety of general education courses and 32 wireless touch-screen computers, learning stations, and large screen projection computers for group work. The renovation provides a state-of-the-art study center for students.

“I am very excited about this program as it will enable us to provided targeted efforts to increase the academic success of our student-athletes,” said McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “Helping students stay in school and complete their degree is a major priority for us. Athletes often have challenges that non-athletes do not have. This initiative is designed to help student-athletes make good academic decisions and lifestyle choices.”

Tricia Killebrew, project director, is thrilled with the upgrades.

“The Academic Support Lab now gives student-athletes an opportunity to prepare for academic challenges in an environment conducive to learning,” said Killebrew. “The program offers a wide range of services, including academic counseling, collaborative learning spaces, tutorial services in general education and prerequisite subjects, interactive study tables, opportunities for career planning and personal development, and advisement on current NCAA, Gulf South Conference, and university rules and regulations.”

Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of Student Success Center, also played a leadership role in making the renovation possible. The SSC was established in 2012 to address retention and the challenges many students face during their academic career.

“Since the updated Academic Support Lab opened in August, we have had more than 320 students visit per week, an increase from an average of 100-150 visits per week in previous years,” said Riddle.

The partnership with MDHS led to the birth of the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program, but the lab also provides free peer tutoring to all Delta State students in a variety of general education courses. Services are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays.

For more information on the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program, contact Killebrew at 662-846-4654 or tkillebrew@deltastate.edu.

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