Proactive Intervention by C.A.P. Counselors to Emphasize Responsibility, Accountability

by Shelia Cohen, Rena Allen Daniels, Fred Dukes, Tom Ott, Jim Ruffins

Throughout Spring semester 1998 CAP counselors Shelia Cohen, Fred Dukes and Jim Ruffins along with Rena Allen Daniels, Academic Coordinator for CAP, and Tom Ott met to review services offered to students in the College Achievement Partnership. The result of these meetings was agreement that while counseling efforts have been almost exclusively a client-based service, the ratio of CAP counselors to students (roughly 1-500+) militates against a model that emphasizes one-on-one, response-driven counseling. Therefore, in an effort to expand services and reach all students in CAP, beginning Fall 1998 the CAP counseling enterprise will be offered as a comprehensive program aimed at meeting the objectives laid out in the Recommendations of the Task Force for Developmental Education (10/15/96) by offering in cooperation with classroom faculty a workshop based approach to academic counseling.

Chief among the Task Force’s recommendations was that “The primary mission of developmental education is to prepare students to succeed in our collegiate programs of studies in the liberal arts, sciences, public service, business, health careers, and career technologies.” To that end, our counseling program has been redesigned to acclimate students as quickly and responsibly as possible to the collegiate culture and to acquaint them with the accountability necessary to succeed in this culture. Thus, counseling interventions are to be, in the main, active rather than reactive, anticipatory rather than crisis-driven.

The first phase of this programmed approach will be a 50 minute in-class workshop given to each CAP section within the first three weeks of a semester. This will replace the initial orientation session provided in the past by counselors. The theme of this session for every CAP section will be Personal Responsibility within an Academic Environment. Further, three main points within this framework will be developed: Responsibility to self, to the Class, and to the Teacher. Within this outline a description of the academic environment and issues relevant to class attendance, completion of course work, and test taking will be addressed.

As we do not wish to lose the important orientation to CAP services, including the availability of personal counseling for students encountering academic difficulties, classroom faculty will be asked to “walk though” the CAP Student Handbook, which will be distributed prior to the first day of classes, with their students. While we understand that much must be done during the first and second day of each semester, we believe also that introducing students to the services available to them through the CAP program should be an essential part of each semester’s beginning and should be a responsibility willingly taken on by faculty teaching in the program.

In addition to the programmed workshop above, each of the three CAP counselors will offer an open session for all students at both the ninth and twelfth weeks of the semester. These workshops will be organized around themes that are appropriate to issues relevant to that point in the semester. While concerns such as how to deal with mid-term MP’s and F’s, academic advising processes and final exam stresses will be addressed, input from faculty identifying critical issues will also be solicited early in the semester so that we may present programs at both of these points in the semester that meet the needs of students and their instructors. Of course, as these are “open” sessions, the cooperation of classroom faculty in directing students to these workshops will be critical.

In addition to student -focused workshops, within the first half of the Fall ‘98 semester a series of three workshops will be offered for all faculty working in the College Achievement Partnership cosponsored by the CAP counselors, Office of Developmental Education, and the Developmental Education representatives of the English and Mathematics Departments. The theme of these workshops will be The Responsibility of Teaching in CAP. Further, the Director for Developmental Education in conjunction with the cosponsors will develop a paper from these meetings to be delivered at a summary session no later than the 12th week of the semester. From these workshop sessions, where faculty input will be paramount, and the summary session, a blueprint for programmatic responsibilities of faculty teaching in CAP will be drawn up and presented to all faculty wishing to teach in the program.

While CAP counselors will continue to be assigned to individual CAP sections and to see students needing personal attention as time allows, the above approach should better enable us to reach every student in the program and to provide sound, academically grounded services that anticipate issues relevant to student

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