Briercrest aims to help students with new Success Centre

Posted: July 10, 2014

Academic success is at the core of Briercrest's vision for their students

Cynthia Boyd is doing her part to make sure Briercrest's students succeed both in class and for the rest of their lives. Boyd, an employee of Briercrest for a little over a year, has started the Briercrest Student Success Centre in an attempt to foster intellectual growth in students attending Briercrest.

"We want to make this very comfortable for everybody so that learning is inclusive...and that everybody has an equal opportunity to learn," Boyd said.

The Student Success Centre does just that. It mostly helps students who are accepted to Briercrest but may have difficulty adjusting to the challenges of their schoolwork or need assistance with their learning.

Boyd explained that the Student Success Centre meets these needs primarily through academic coaching, which is being headed up by recent Briercrest graduate, Eunice Chow.

"We've got a pretty strong academic coaching program happening as well and that's what Eunice was part of before," Boyd shared, "so, it's an easy transition for her."

 This academic coaching is necessary because of the difference in learning atmosphere between high school and college.

"We're finding there is a gap, as other institutions are finding, between high school and college and that whole 'readiness' thing," explained Boyd. To help the Centre reach these needs, Boyd says she asks herself how to best serve the students who enter Briercrest who are not ready for the rigorous learning that takes place.

The school is also helping students build their futures. The Student Success Centre will be home to the Career Connection Centre.

 "We need to connect our student body to, first of all, alumni who might have businesses who would like to hire for the summer or upon graduation," said Boyd. This includes helping students write resumes, aiding with their graduation portfolios and practicing interview skills.

The big question is this: is the Student Success Centre successful?

 "We've had so many students in and out of [the Student Success Centre] that one person can't really handle them all," Boyd said with a smile. "It's great that the support is there; in fact, we've already outgrown [our space]."

Boyd is also seeing success in tangible ways.

"According to the Registrar's Office we've had less [Academic Probation] students than Briercrest has had in a long, long time," said Boyd. "I think what has happened is that we've had less of our conditional accepts become [academic probation] students the following semester. So, the numbers are showing that the students are getting some help in that way."

Boyd said she is ready and excited for the future of the Centre.

"Having a space and opening the door, students have found us somehow. It's almost like 'if you build it, they will come', so we'll continue to build through word of mouth," said Boyd of the success of the Centre.

 In the 2014-2015 school year, the Student Success Centre looks to grow by adding seminars, support for international students and sessions on taking notes or studying. All of these resources will be posted, for free, on the Centre's website.

 All in all, Boyd just wants to see students succeed in their academic lives.

 "It's been so exciting to see students - even getting emails at the end of the year saying how helpful this has been for them... That's where the success lies for us, hearing individuals say 'I don't know if I would have been able to make it through this year without that help.'"