BY: ANTHONY AYALA
This fall a new initiative, the Brother-to-Brother Speaker Series, begins with their first event Sept. 12 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in the SAC room 225. This Speaker Series is being spear headed by Michelle Rosemond, the executive director of Retention and Student Success, a newly created role within the division of Student Success in collaboration with others on campus.
“What I do in retention is that I track for different populations in terms of who is being retained and who is not. Who is graduating and who is not,” said Rosemond.
While tracking data on IU South Bend, Rosemond found that one sector of the student population not being retained was domestic minorities. The data showed that admissions was having success in the recruitment phase, however, these students were graduating at a lower rate than most general IU South Bend students. In addition students were transferring out of the campus for a variety of reasons.
Rosemond in collaboration with Title VII, the Director of Counseling Services, Retention and Student Success, staff and faculty have worked together to reach out to the student community. Through the Brother-to-Brother Series this group will work with students directly to increase that graduating statistic.
“This first conversation is to say ‘hey welcome, you belong here at IU South Bend’ and we are ready to partner with you in terms of any academic adjustments, academic guidance, and personal support, what ever that looks like for the student,” said Rosemond.
Rosemond ran a focus group on black male students between the ages of 18 to 24. The focus was translating what students want to see in a support program. There were three major points. One was advertising free food. Second, was that students were interested in having a mentor. Third, was assistance in obtaining jobs on and off campus.
The Brother-to-Brother Series plans to address mentor support in two ways. First, Rosemond is working with what she calls “Staff and Faculty Champions,” who are passionate about retention and development of students. The second step is that the Brother-to-Brother Series is reaching out to the community for support. While still in negotiations, two leadership organizations are excited to support IU South Bend students.
In addition to providing mentor support to university students, one of the organizations also has a high school and middle school mentor program. They would like to see students give back to the members in our community. The Brother-to-Brother Series hopes to offer this opportunity on September 12.
To address the desire for job opportunities, Rosemond is uniquely positioned to support students in such a way. Student Success Career Services, the Academic Center for Excellence and the Titan Success Center are all working with Rosemond’s vision. Whether a student needs campus employment, higher levels of academic support or emergency aid, an opportunity for students to connect with these resources has been created.
On September 11, a fall extravaganza will allow students a fun way to connect with those resources.
“Step one, convey that message create that culture. Step two, in about a years’ time when I pull up that same reenrollment data set I would like to see the number of students transferring out lower and we have created some capacity to stay with us and get retained at higher levels. And number three, we are hoping that students are happy with the progression and they continue to inform us,” said Rosemond.
Looking forward the Brother-to-Brother series is about what the students wish to talk about. Rosemond describes it is a continuous partnership with the students. As such Rosemond has not set the dates for the spring because she want students to have the opportunity to provide feedback that will shape spring 2019.
If you are interested in any future Brother-to-Brother events they are:
Sept 12 – SAC 225, Relationships & Grades
Oct 2 – Alumni Room, TBD
Nov 6 – Alumni Room, Leadership Spectrum
Dec 4 – SAC 225, TBD
Dec 18 – Alumni Room, Success Stories, IUSB Famous Alumni