Resources & Support
Bethune-Cookman University provides appropriate academic support services for students and faculty. Academic support services are offered out of both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, and the primary intent of these services is to promote a positive and caring environment that supports student learning in line with the University mission. The University offers a wide range of services including academic tutoring, developmental support, advisement support, testing services, honors program, and preparation for graduate school.
Definition of Academic Support Services
Bethune-Cookman University defines academic support services as the collection of curricular and co-curricular services that are designed to enhance the academic experiences of all students. Specifically, these services help students to establish and achieve academic goals and foster academic success through integrated programs that enhance retention and graduation.
The institution publishes academic services in the University catalog, student handbook, special brochures, and on the University website. Additional information such as contact information and times of availability of academic support services are also distributed during new-student orientations, library and tutorial lab orientations, and published in course syllabi.
The core academic support services are outlined below.
Center for Academic Support Services
The Center for Academic Support Services (CASS) was established to enhance the learning experiences for all Bethune-Cookman University students. The Center for Academic Support Services promotes the University’s mission by fostering a positive learning environment that enhances and extends instructional activities and empowers students to take charge of their own learning. The mission of the Center for Academic Support Services is to improve student retention and persistence to graduation by enhancing student learning through the coordination of academic support services, including the New Student Program, advisement of undeclared majors, academic tutoring, and advisement services to include monitoring of the Standards of Academic Progress. The following is a brief description of the services offered by the Center for Academic Support Services.
New Student Program – Through orientation programs geared for incoming freshman and transfer students, the New Student Program offers an introduction to the University and the spectrum of academic services that available. This encompasses orientation to several services including academic advising, financial aid/student accounts, testing services, and registration.
Advisement for Undeclared Majors - Advisement for Undeclared Majors is provided through the Center for Academic Support Services to assist students in exploring major programs of study. Student will participate in career exploration activities to drive them closer to a major of choice. Once students declare a major they will be assigned to a faculty advisor in an Academic School.
Academic Tutoring/Learning Services - Campus academic tutorial services provides individualized and small group instruction for various courses through each Academic School. Specialized tutoring is provided to those students needing assistance in mathematics, English, and reading through the Multiskills Lab. Other learning services include the use of inventories designed to assist students in identifying and making use of different learning modalities in order to achieve academic success.
Advisement Services - Advising services provides support for all students, faculty and staff in many areas. Support and Training for faculty advisors will assist Academic Schools with implementing policies and procedures through academic advising training workshops. Standards of Academic Progress, which includes an Academic Referral System, and a Structured Monitoring Program, provides students that are not making adequate academic progress with essential support to improve their academic status. Students will be systematically referred to additional Support Services as prescribed by faculty and staff.
Center for Academic Retention and Enrichment Services Program
The Center for Academic Retention and Enrichment Services (CARES) provides quality programs and services to support developmental students through academic and non-academic units in the development of critical-thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, leadership, and service-learning skills for developmental students. In addition, CARES faculty teaches developmental courses in mathematics, English, and reading to increase student success in college level courses. The Center for Academic Retention and Enrichment Services (CARES) consists of Non-Academic Student Support, Developmental Courses, and Advising Services.
Academic Tutorial Labs
Bethune-Cookman University provides assistance to students through Tutoring Labs as an academic service to all enrolled students. These labs provide both person-to-person and computer-based support linked directly to the College’s mission to support the academic needs of the students in reading, math, writing, business, education, and the natural sciences. Faculty can refer students to the Tutoring Lab based on course or program performance. The tutorial labs are equipped with instructional materials and staffed with qualified personnel to provide a prescriptive level of support to all Bethune-Cookman students. The University provides a staff of computer technicians, a network specialist, and lab specialists that maintain these labs, supervise student use, and serve as resources to faculty for evaluating course/program-specific software. Technology support of learning will be a priority for development over the next two years, and major improvements will be made as part of the Quality Enhancement Plan.
Academic Advising is an essential component of the educational process and is committed to a program which strives to integrate students’ personal and academic goals, address their cognitive and social development, and establish the relationship between education and life experiences. Each student is assigned an academic advisor whose role is to help the student clarify individual goals and develop a suitable educational plan, select an appropriate course sequence, and review the progress toward established educational goals. The Dean of each School assigns advisors, makes changes in a student’s major, minor, or teaching field, and works with transfer students concerning transcript evaluation and the distribution of transfer credits among the requirements of the university.
The Office of Testing and Evaluation provides an extensive testing program for the accommodation of students (Evidence 5b).
- Placement Assessment - The Testing Office administers the placement examination to freshman and transfer students for placement in reading, English, and mathematics. New and transfer students will take the placement test except transfer students holding an A.A. Degree from a Florida community college.
- Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency Test (CAAP). This is a special test that not only measures how much you know about a particular subject. There are several sections on the test-Reading, Mathematics, Science, Critical Thinking, Writing Skills, and Writing Essay. Except for the essay portion, all tests are in a multiple choice format. Calculators are allowed.
- College Credit - Bethune-Cookman University is a participant in the Advanced Placement Program and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. If the student meets the criteria set forth by each academic area, then the student may receive college credit for courses covering similar material. Students must apply through the Testing Office during the first six weeks of their first semester enrolled at Bethune-Cookman University.
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) - The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests are offered for students who are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required by the subject examinations. Students can receive course credit by earning qualifying scores on CLEP examinations.
- National Test Center - The University also serves as a national test center for limited test offerings of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to
include subject examinations of The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
The Honors Program at Bethune-Cookman University seeks to provide expanded study opportunities for highly motivated and exceptionally qualified students. Freshmen and sophomore students invited into the program must maintain a 3.3 cumulative grade point average. Non-program students may also register for an honors course, if they have a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and if room is available in the class based on the student's entry placement test scores. The Honors Program Resource Center is fully equipped with Internet connections for the Dell computers and Windows XP. The program has testing tools for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, along with Graduate Schools Guide for all perspective fields of study for student use. The program has six Dell Notebook Computers and four Dell Desktop Computers. These laptops are available to the Honors Faculty members (on a loan basis) for curriculum development and enhancement of their course delivery methods.
Student Support Services (TRIO Program)
The Student Support Services Program is a support program that is funded by the United States Department of Education. Students who meet the criteria (first generation college students and income level) are invited to apply for acceptance. Each student is interviewed by the program director or counselor and given an individual needs assessment. Information from the assessment is used to determine appropriate services for each student. A contract is signed by the student, which obligates him or her to attend classes, meet counselor's appointments, and attend tutoring sessions if tutoring is needed.
The major objectives of the Student Support Services (TRIO) Program are the following:
1. To increase the retention and graduation rate of the students
2. To provide opportunities for cultural and social enrichment
3. To provide assistance in career planning.
The Student Support Services Program focuses on five areas of service: math and English classes, tutoring, counseling, career planning and placement, and cultural and social enrichment.
Academic Support Services for Student Athletes
The Department of Athletics employs Academic Support personnel and sponsors an Academic Support Program for athletes. The program is designed to support academic advisement for student athletes and to ensure progress toward a degree. The program encourages student athletes to effectively balance academics and athletics and includes several mandatory Study Hall and attendance monitoring. To celebrate achievements, awards ceremonies are held each semester to honor the athletes who demonstrate good academic performance. The Department also has a computer lab for the student athletes to assist with student retention.
Library Learning Resources
Information Technology – The Library provides computer labs as work stations for students to complete academic assignments using the library resources. Computers are available in the residence halls for students to check-out, and in the Parlin Resource Center for students. The computers enhance the quality of services provided to students within the Division of Student Affairs. Additional computers were purchased for students/staff during the 2007-2008 academic years.
The Office of Academic Computing has established a Student Support Program that focuses on student success in the areas of technology use and support. Students also have access to 16 computer labs around campus. Each computer lab has access to all necessary hardware and software used for instruction at Bethune-Cookman University. In addition to the labs, Bethune-Cookman University has university-wide wireless access for students, which allows students to connect to the University network through the use of wireless cards installed in their computers. In the Wildcat Student Center, students are allowed to check out laptops for use in the facility, and these laptops all have internal wireless cards. Students receive training on the use of Blackboard through their Freshman Seminar Courses. For students who are not freshman, training is done by request of an academic computing consultant, or by the instructor. Students are also offered several trainings opportunities with the additional software that is used in their courses. Students can also request a one to one training through academic computing.
Career Planning Services
Bethune-Cookman University provides individual and group counseling sessions to assist students in developing interpersonal, social, and decision-making skills through the Office of Career and Program Services in Student Affairs. Among the services provided is graduate school counseling, a service by which students are advised on graduate school options. In addition, student can receive GRE, LSAT, and GMAT preparation.
Faculty Academic Support
Academic support for faculty includes a Faculty Development Center that offers mini grants and workshops, the Faculty Development Research Grants Program, and the New Faculty Orientation Program. The Office of Academic Computing provides support for both faculty and students in all areas related to the use of instructional technology. The information regarding these services is disseminated to faculty and students via the University Catalog, the Faculty Handbook, the Student handbook and the University Website.
The Faculty Development Program provides on-going professional development seminars and workshops that include curriculum development, instructional and assessment strategies, funds small faculty research projects, and assists in the acclimation of new faculty through the New Faculty Development component. The University recently obtained membership in the New York University Faculty Resource Network which provides competitive opportunities for professional growth; and also, the Center for Information Technology focuses on faculty training and support as it relates to technology use, two examples of faculty support activities.
In summary, quality academic support services are provided for students and faculty at Bethune-Cookman University as documented in the annual Planning, Budget and Assessment Reports. The program and services offered through these entities also support the student learning outcomes of the university as documented in the Support Services Student Learning Outcomes Report. Newsletters keep students up-to-date on current and new activities; and annual Fact Books and presentations to the Board of Trustees highlight major accomplishments in student support services and Faculty Development.