by Rachel Stengel
A group of undeclared freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been getting a helping hand from upperclassmen who were once in their shoes.
Fall 2010 marked the start of a pilot program, the General Liberal Arts and Sciences Students (GLASS) Peer Mentoring Program. Senior academic coordinator Terri Marriott developed the program and worked with Dr. Jonathan Millen, assistant dean of liberal arts, to coordinate it.
Twenty-one undecided students from director of undergraduate admission William Larrousse’s freshman seminar class were paired with one of the 17 mentors. Each of the mentors came to Rider as an undecided freshman, but eventually chose a major they enjoy.
Undecided students take various core curriculum classes as they journey to discovering their ideal major. The GLASS Peer Mentoring Program aims to fill a gap by assisting undecided students.
“The idea for the initiative came about through discussions concerning the challenges for freshmen entering college for the first time, especially those students coming in as GLASS undeclared,” Marriott said. “Rider’s commitment to providing a strong foundation of success for its incoming freshmen has shown in its many programs.”
The program strives to support Rider’s incoming undecided freshmen in “identifying themselves as a Rider student, becoming familiar with university policies, pursuing the discovery of a major and becoming active, independent and confident Rider students,” explained Marriott.
The pilot was well received by both mentors and mentees. Marriott explained that the mentors “also provided the students with a connection to someone so they knew that they were not alone and there was someone that they could immediately reach out to for any reason.”
According to Millen, the program has the potential to be a useful resource for undeclared students.
“Terri Marriott has worked tirelessly in her efforts to increase the success of our newer students by maximizing the leadership of returning students,” he said.
The program is currently in the assessment and evaluation stages before further implementation. Marriott and Millen hope that the full-fledged program will be accessible to students in fall 2011.
For more information about the GLASS pilot program, contact Terri Marriott.