Message from the Dean of the Freshman Institute
Dr. Ronnie Hopkins

Freshman Institute:

Dr. Ronnie Hopkins

The first year of college is both exciting and challenging. One of the most challenging aspects of any college career is the transition into the college culture, including what is expected of students and the dynamics of college life as a whole. For that reason, Benedict College has implemented the Freshman Institute to assist the student in that transition in the first college year. The Freshman Institute goal is "Transforming the First Year Experience to Create an Effective Learning Community." Through academic and co-curricular activities and strategies, the Freshman Institute faculty, staff and administration seek to engage students in intellectual, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of learning while challenging them to develop the skills and sense of responsibility needed to be successful as a college student and citizen.

The slogan for the Freshman Institute is "BC Transformers: Enter with Pride; Exit with Power." Having come to Benedict College from a legacy of Benedictines or as one the first students to attend college from your family, the Freshman Institute knows that you have made the right decision to attend Benedict College and that you should be extremely proud of your accomplishments to this point of your developing career. The Freshman Institute allows students to choose a program that best fits their needs while maintaining a high level of engagement. All incoming first-year students enroll in one of the College's academic programs. Working with the academic Departments and Schools, the Freshman Institute faculty, staff, and administration wishes to consistently improve student performance, graduation and retention rates and connection to Benedict College, helping to create successful college students within an effective learning community that will graduate and leave Benedict as "Powers for Good in the Twenty-first Century."  

The Freshman Institute is dedicated to serving you during your first college year at Benedict College. Now that you are a part of the Benedict College family, we can help make your transition to college life effortless and rewarding. Your fist year of college reflects the academic social, spiritual and emotional growth you will experience throughout your life, and the Freshman Institute seeks to accompany you on this journey. Our resources and the first year academic, co-curricular and orientation experience are designed with your success in mind, and we encourage you to become familiar with them. We truly hope your first year at Benedict College is memorable and that you will embrace and realize the Freshman Institute theme: "Transforming the First Year Experience to Create an Effective Learning Community"


Message from the Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Janeen P. Witty

BC Transformers: Enter with Pride; Exit with Power
The Freshman Institute: A Call to Action!!!

The Freshman Institute at Benedict College is designed to reengineer the first year experience for all first-time freshmen in the first college year to produce better academic success in terms of academic progress and retention. The Freshman Institute at Benedict College is a college-wide supported, comprehensive advocacy program for students in the first year of college designed to transform their first year experience to create an effective learning community. Focusing on academic and non academic behaviors, the Freshman Institute serves as the catalyst for enculturation of first-time freshman students and provides strategies, including curriculum reform, learning communities, and other programs and activities designed to guide first-time freshman students through first-year success. Ultimately, the Freshman Institute seeks to impact the academic, civic, spiritual, social, emotional and intellectual development of first time freshman.

The Freshman Institute is comprised of three Departments: Academic Department, Effort Support Department, and Learning Support Department. The Freshman Institute operates as a unit in the Division of Academic Affairs. We believe that greater success for freshmen will require improvement in students' efforts, sense of purpose, scholarship, responsibility, accountability, personal pride and service to the greater community-local, national and international. The College has created a cohesive program from our existing wide-ranging efforts and has incorporated additional best practices in the first college year which will significantly enhance positive outcomes in both student learning and in the environment that supports student learning to be measured via substantive and relevant assessment.

First, the highly selected Freshman Faculty, Lead Faculty members and Undergraduate Teaching Assistants comprise the Academic Department. The Academic Department ensures the design, implementation and evaluation of the first year curriculum to include: classes taught in Smart Classrooms, student based learning, technology driven instruction. Individual and Team Recognition for student academic effort and success will be frequently announced as a part of the Benedict College Association of Academics.

Second, the Academic Success Coaches and Student Success Trainers comprise the Effort Support Department. The full-time staff members and student employees serve as the major enthusiasts, motivators, and supporters for freshman students. The Effort Support Department Staff provides directed professional mentorship, leadership and guidance to an assigned group of first year students and provide a coaching/training experience for first year students with the goal of first-year students becoming successful college students.

Third, the Learning Support Department, comprised of full-time, professional Learning Specialists and Peer Tutors, will supplement classroom instruction and ensure that students get any tutorial support or out of class guidance needed for their academic success. To maximize the Learning Support effort, the Learning Labs will consist of technology designed to supplement all Freshman courses. Also, the Learning Labs will be open for extended hours during the week day and on weekends to meet the needs of our Freshman students.

With this "Call to Action," the ultimate purpose of the Freshman Institute will be realized and indeed our Freshman students will truly experience the slogan for the Freshman Institute: BC Transformers: Enter with Pride; Exit with Power.


Message from the Vice President of Student Affairs
Mr. Gary E. Knight

May the Best Academic Team Win!!!
Constructive Academic Competition in the Freshman Institute

The Freshman Institute will be analogous to the Division in sports through the Benedict College Association of Academics. The School will be analogous to the conference. That is, the School of Business and Economics, the School of Education, the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The Departmental programs will be analogous to the teams and organized at the capacity of forty students per academic team.

Each team will compete within its conference to get to the playoffs. Teams will compete for the first, second and third place each week in terms of their overall and component effort scores. There will be weekly games for each team, namely the Academic Behaviors Effort Game and the Non-Academic Behaviors Effort Game. The Academic Success Coaches and Student Success Trainers will work with each student team each week to provide feedback on the previous week's results and to encourage, motivate, and help them improve their performance. There will be a regular season championship. Then all teams within a conference will have the opportunity to compete for the conference championship in the playoffs regardless of their regular season standing. The conference championship winners will compete for the Benedict College Association of Academics Division Championship. There will also be opportunities for individual recognitions during the regular season and during the playoffs, e.g. most valuable player, most improved player, etc. Incentives and rewards will be designed by the Freshman Institute to recognize and encourage student effort. There will be an academic effort banquet analogous to the athletic banquet at the end of the year.

Freshman Students residing on campus will be assigned to Living and Learning Communities based on the academic major and will remain assigned on an Academic Team with comprehensive support from the Freshman Faculty, Undergraduate Teaching Assistants, Academic Success Coaches, Student Success Trainers, Learning Specialists and Peer Tutors. The Academic Teams will compete for Individual and Team Recognition based on their academic effort performance and appropriate non-academic effort performance as members of the Benedict College Association of Academics. Indeed, may the best Academic Team win as we transform the first-year experience to create an effective learning community at Benedict College.