Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)
Offered through the U-M Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI), SuccessConnects will be designed as a holistic support program focused on enhancing students’ academic, social, cultural and personal development. Through one-on-one professional coaching, peer mentoring and monthly workshops that connect participants to campus resources, the program creates a supportive, inclusive community designed to encourage success at the University of Michigan, including for first-generation students, students from low socioeconomic and/or underrepresented backgrounds as well as participants of U-M’s partnership pipeline program. SuccessConnects is open to all students who desire to enhance their success via the opportunities and services provided.
The 2020–21 academic year was marked by nonstop challenges that illuminated the importance of SuccessConnects as an anchor program for underserved students and a resource for assuring both individual and broader community-based success. Underscoring the promise contained in the name, connections became the central theme of Year Five. During these unprecedented times, we sought to provide stability and focus for students as they navigated uncertainty and forged a new understanding of how to move forward academically and personally. As success coaching, tutoring and community gatherings all shifted to virtual formats, adaptability and consistency of connections became a first-order priority in meeting new and emerging needs. In all, 2,280 students participated in one-on-one coaching sessions, an increase of 26 percent from the previous year.
In keeping with our theme and goal of consistent connections, tutoring efforts became an important resource for students as they adapted to online learning. During Year Five, more than 1,375 tutoring sessions were conducted. To assure the personal well-being of students, the program hired an OAMI staff member to serve as a wellness coach in collaboration with Wolverine Wellness.
Due to the unique nature of the Year Five academic environment, a wider variance of needs became evident, making collaboration more important than ever. As a result, several new programs emerged. These included the Scholar Edge initiative, offered in conjunction with the University Career Center, which inspired and supported students through online chats with peers. In partnership with the Office of Health Equity, we launched an internship program focused on data and the Salesforce CRM platform. In addition, our connections with the STEM-focused efforts of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) led to the development of a four-week summer data science program, with participant follow-up provided by SuccessConnects during the academic year.
Throughout Year Five, virtual community gatherings continued on a monthly basis. Online small group sessions were held as well to accommodate special topics and coaching for family meetups.
The development of leadership skills in the 60 undergraduate, graduate and medical students working as SuccessConnects employees was another area of focus. More emphasis was placed on leadership and professional development of these student staff members via intentional programming as well as initiatives focused on holistic growth that incorporated perspectives related to DEI awareness and tenets. These efforts not only benefited student staff members and the campus community, but also portends the significant promise of future impact on the social landscape.
Responsibility: Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives