Delta State University is launching a new Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
The program will offer academic labs, 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.
Delta State President William N. LaForge said this is a big step for the university.
“Thanks to MDHS, Delta State will now be able to provide our student-athletes with enhanced academic support that will help them complete their studies and graduate,” LaForge said. “This is huge for Delta State and our student-athletes.”
The program will work with units across campus to create academic workshops, community service opportunities and leadership opportunities. In addition, student-athletes will have access to a state-of-the-art learning lab equipped with tutors and supplemental instructors, as well as academic counseling, collaborative learning spaces, tutors in general education and prerequisite subjects, interactive study tables, opportunities for career planning and personal development, assistance in monitoring athletic eligibility, opportunities for priority registration, and advisement on current NCAA, Gulf South Conference, and university rules and regulations.
Each athletic team will have its own academic coach to provide individualized attention and assistance as it relates to eligibility and procedures in compliance with NCAA academic standards. In addition to academic coaching, student-athletes will have access to a learning specialist and lifestyles coach who will mentor the students in the areas of overall health and wellness and academic skill building. Each student-athlete will be monitored for academic progress and have access to disability services, degree and career counseling, learning styles identification, and any other services which relate to academic success and degree attainment.
Dr. Charles McAdams, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the program is part of a university-wide effort to increase retention and student success.
“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,” McAdams said. “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, a three-time Delta State graduate (’02, ’08, ’13), has been named the Project Director for the program. Other members involved in creating and implementing the program include Dr. Charles McAdams, Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs; Dr. Christy Riddle, Executive Director of Student Success Center; Ronnie Mayers, Athletic Director; Dana George, Senior Executive Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance, Academics, and Internal Operations; Matt Jones, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations; and Becky Finley, Registrar.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with my alma mater to help enrich the lives of our student-athletes,” Killebrew said. “It has always been a desire of mine to work with student-athletes to prepare them to balance their academic, athletic, and social lives while in college. I am eager to lead this effort to produce higher levels of achievement and create positive outcomes for student-athletes.”
The Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program is a division of the Student Success Center, which was established in fall 2012 to address retention and the challenges many students face during their academic career. The Center includes six divisions focusing on specific aspects of retention: Academic Advising Services, Academic Support Services, First Year Seminar, International Student Services, Okra Scholars, and Student Athlete Support Services. Each division of the Student Success Center focuses on a targeted area of retention and will be involved in the implementation of the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program.
For more information regarding the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services program, contact Tricia Killebrew at (662) 846-4654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.