Quality Enhancement Plan
Just a few months into the new decade there is a significant buzz on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University. Students, staff, and faculty alike are excited about the new writing / mentoring program formed as part of the university’s 5-year Quality Enhancement Plan.
The program has affectionately been titled; “Wildcats Write: Strengthening Writing Among B-CU Students”. The focus of the program and the newly developed Wildcats Write Center is to help students develop positive self-esteem and attitudes as they relate to writing. Intensive one-on-one mentoring is a key element to the success of the program.
The students will benefit from the QEP and Wildcats Write through activities designed to build confidence, self-expression, individuality, listening skills, and reading and speaking skills. Working with Mentors will allow students to observe, model, and emulate students who already have developed writing skills necessary for success in college. Through the QEP and Wildcats Write, students become both active learners and effective communicators.
The benefits are limitless. What about you, are you onboard, have you heard about the QEP’s Wildcats Write Center?
Wildcats Write is a part of B-CU’s History
Wildcats Write grows directly out of the University’s history and mission. The plan is in response to the University’s decision to recommit itself to the writing legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the University’s founder.
Even before she secured land for what is now a thriving institution spread-out over 70 acres, Dr. Bethune secured the funds and civic involvement of numerous philanthropists through her effective writing.
Mr. James Proctor heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune remarked that the letters written by Dr. Bethune were so well written and passionate that he was taken aback. He automatically assumed she was a white woman. Gamble’s endorsements were emulated by many of his colleagues, thus B-CU began its ascension to the campus you see today. The story of Bethune-Cookman University is founded on principles of effective writing and the confidence that comes with such skills.
Wildcats Write will foster life-long learning
The University is committed to making writing a fundamental value and tool for matriculating students and graduates as life-long learners. Through a barrage of surveys, data assessments, course exit reviews, and input from multiple focus groups, B-CU reached the conclusion that improved writing skills would be enhance the overall academic development, self esteem, and long-term academic and personal success of its students and developed a plan to improve writing that will be applied to freshmen enrolled in the developmental English courses.
B-CU developed its plan through the broad-based participation of various constituency groups, including students, staff, faculty, administrators, and members of the University’s Board of Trustees. In addition a steering committee, composed of deans, and the fore-mentioned was instrumental in ensuring success.
Welcome to the Wildcats Write Center (WWC)
As part the QEP program, the Wildcats Write Center (WWC) located at; 325 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd was established out of the necessity to improve the writing abilities of students enrolled in college preparation courses. The Wildcats Write Center differs from other tutorial labs by specifically identifying writing as an integral part of the entire educational process. The WWC combines a plethora of intensive activities with individualized mentoring which will serve undergraduates, graduates, and professionals as they hone their writing skills.
The WWC has the look and feel of a coffee shop or cyber café and will provide a comfortable setting conducive to learning but not as restricted as a library. State-of-the-art computers, printers, and wireless capabilities will afford students the opportunity to hone their skills in an atmosphere sure to stimulate their creative writing juices.
Writing intensive activities and immediate feedback.
Mentorship and peer tutoring to promote self-esteem and positive attitudes toward writing.
Provide a portal for faculty development with a focus on best practices in teaching, motivating and innovative prerequisites for pre-college English students enrolled in WWC English courses.
The purpose of Wildcats Write Center is to demonstrate the impact of mentorship on the students writing skills thereby reintroducing values the Founder understood when the school was in its infancy.
Why does the ability to write effectively matter?
Research has revealed that there is a percentage of college students enrolled in universities around the country whom do not have sufficient writing skills. Surprisingly, those students with deficiencies were not limited to Historically Black Colleges and Universities but also included Ivy League Institutions such as Yale, Duke, and Princeton, and technical schools as well.
Did you know about National Thank Your Mentor Day?
Did you know January was mentor National Mentor Month?
What is mentorship? Why is mentoring important? Why does it matter?
Take a trip back in time to your childhood. Weren’t there people in your life who encouraged you, showed you the ropes, and helped you become the person you are today? Think about family members, a teacher or coach, a neighbor, a boss, or family friend or a pastor; those people were mentors to you. Most successful people say they had mentors along the way who guided and encouraged them.
The Wildcats Write Center will intricately combine mentorship with writing success. The end result is a well-rounded pupil prepared for continued matriculation through college-level English courses and their chosen fields of study. Graduate students have the opportunity to use the center’s resources to enhance and hone their writing skills too. Faculty and staff also will have access to the WWC. All in all it will truly exhibit the family atmosphere B-CU is known for.
Although there are numerous tutorial labs spread throughout the university’s campus. None specialize in enhancing students writing skills through extensive activities coupled mentorship. Whereas other labs may deal with large volumes of students, the WWC is specifically designed to cater to a smaller group and provide the one-on-one, hands-on approach to significantly boost the student’s self-esteem and catapult them to the next level of their education.
Notable icons speak out on the importance of mentorship
Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was a pioneer of mentorship associated with writing as evidenced by the donations she procured and the partnerships she established through her writing ability. As a student at Trinity Mission School in Mayesville, South Carolina, Bethune’s instructor, Emma Jane Wilson, became a significant mentor in her life. Bethune would go on to mentor countless others while instilling the importance of writing effectively.
Fifty-four years after Bethune’s era, the nation elected its first African-American; President Barack Obama immediately picked up the mantle and became a staunch advocate of mentorship. The 44th President has repeatedly said "Be the change: mentor a child." He has supported numerous programs to that effect.
Maya Angelou cited a grade school teacher for sparking her love of poetry. Angelou is a known supporter of mentorships.
“In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. Mentors help people interpret the world.
Quincy Jones points to the powerful influence of musician Ray Charles, while Michael Jackson credited James Brown as his influence. The point is clear. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who wasn’t influenced in some positive manner by a mentor of sorts.
So it is with the WWC. Exceptional students will mentor their own peers under the watchful eyes of the QEP Director and the WWC Mentoring Coordinator / Lab Manager. The WWC seeks to express the importance of writing and benefits of mentoring in relation to it. The positive results are boundless.
Mentoring and tutoring have always been related. It is still as prevalent today as with was during the days when Mary McLeod Bethune walked the campus.
B-CU uses a graduate to drive home the importance of mentorship. The QEP Mentoring Coordinator / Lab Manager Karsceal Turner once was in the same position as each student involved in the program. Turner’s stigma of mathematics delayed his matriculation from B-CU. However it was his ability to write affectively which enabled him to serve as a News Reporter for numerous news entities, Media Relations Manager for an Arena Football team, an Assistant Sports Information Director, and his current post with his alma mater. Through perseverance and mentorship, Turner’s degree caught up with his experience. He is now in the position to reach back and pull other s up.
The focus with the WWC lies more on mentoring aspects in conjunction with writing. As a professional writer, Turner can impress the importance of writing effectively. His personal experience provides an insight not possible with textbooks and exams. However, personal experience in conjunction with the intense exercises as provided for in the Wildcats Write! Mentoring Lab will exhibit how one-on-one interaction with peers, and a coordinator who succeeded will help provide an effective boost for students involved in WCC 121 122 courses which will remain with them throughout their matriculation through B-CU.
Participants in the Wildcats Write Program remain under the watchful eyes of the mentors, mentor coordinator, and instructors even after their matriculation through the program. As they progress through their chosen undergraduate programs, they will be able to refer to the center for counsel, writing skills enhancement, and of course mentoring.