Freshman Academic Advising and Advocacy
Freshman Academic Advising and Advocacy provides academic success advocacy services, including academic advising, course selection, degree plan counseling, and monitoring and intervention, academic improvement plans, and transcript evaluation. This vital component of the Center for Academic Resources and Support (CARS) helps students learn to “drive” their academic success by teaching them to take control of all decisions concerning their academic experience. Additionally, the advisors advocate for students with faculty when warranted.
The Advising-Advocacy component of CARS consists of academic advisor-advocates who assist freshmen and are students’ most important connection to the university. Advisor-Advocates, through mandatory advising conferences, provide stability and help students to understand that pursing a higher education is a serious responsibility. The transition from high school to college can sometimes be difficult and advisor-advocates are the first resource of support beyond the classroom.
Florida Memorial University employs an “Intrusive/Developmental Advising” model. Intrusive advising is a proactive strategy that allows advisor-advocates to build ongoing relationships with students. Advisor-Advocates establish close bonds with students through face-to-face contacts, instruction in University 101 and via technology.
In order to build a strong working relationship each student is required to:
- Participate in three (3) mandatory advising conferences each semester.
- Maintain regular contact with his/her advisor.
- Maintain regular email communication through university email address.
- Provide any and all information that may an effect either academically or personally.
- Keep abreast of all academic developments throughout the year.
- Declare a major in the first semester and connect with that school and/or department.
- Engage in the advising process for optimal understanding.
The Academic Advising and Advocacy office is located in Room 111 in Sarah A. Blocker Hall.
Testing and Accommodations
The Center for Academic Resources and Support (CARS) provides college placement and diagnostic testing for all students entering the university who have not taken the SAT or ACT, and for students whose SAT/ACT scores fall below the university’s requirements. FMU uses the Postsecondary Educational Readiness Test (PERT) for college placement in reading, writing, and mathematics. Testing accommodations can also be provided for students who require them.
Florida Memorial University (FMU) seeks to fully comply with federal guidelines for accommodating the diverse needs of its students by providing equal access to academic support services pursuant to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). New freshmen and transfer students may apply for accommodations once admitted to Florida Memorial University. Current students may apply at any time. It is the students’ responsibility to identify him or herself to the Office of the Provost and present valid documentation of a legally valid disability in order to receive reasonable academic accommodations. The CARS staff will assist you in obtaining approved classroom accommodations, exam accommodations, and other services that are available and may be needed.
First Year Experience Programs
First Year Experience (FYE) is a continuum of reinforcing experiences that help students to transition from high school to college.
New Student Orientation
Every fall, Florida Memorial University receives new first-time freshmen and transfer students. Our New Student Orientation (NSO) program introduces students to the university, acquaints them with services and staff important to their development and retention, provides walking tours, and helps to ease the transition to campus. Beyond the admissions process, NSO is the university’s first point of contact with incoming freshmen.
New Student Orientation (NSO) is an annual collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs where the primary goal is to acquaint students and their families with the university and its resources. A student’s success depends heavily upon his or her ability to adjust to college life and navigate the classroom, financial aid services, and the academic support networks available throughout the campus. FMU provides a wide range of student support services and during NSO, students are introduced to these services and are provided with information from every office that will prove beneficial to their success.
Fall convocation takes place in early September. It is the university’s official welcoming of students to the academy. Convocation is the second stage of the First Year Experience and serves to acquaint students with the formal history of Florida Memorial University. Convocation is also used nationally as the official day for welcoming new students. The entire university participates in a graduation-style setting for this purpose, and students are asked to dress in white tops and black bottoms for the occasion.
FMU 101 and FMU 102
University 101 is a course designed to help students fully transition and to help them do so successfully.
Taught primarily by CARS staff and departmental faculty, University 101 – FMU 101 – helps new students become collegians. The course convenes each Tuesday at 9:25 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. Using a common syllabus and open resources, University 101 includes studies in the history of Florida Memorial University, critical thinking, personal development and etiquette, career planning, entrepreneurship, classroom success skills, and leadership. These topics are taught during the first semester in a two-credit hour course. This course is a graduation requirement and all new students are required to enroll in it unless they have an equivalent course for transfer.
FMU 102 – Thinking Critically About the Disciplines, is a two-credit hour course offered each spring. The intent of this course is to help students to understand their degree programs and the career pathway they have selected.
Critical components to the Intrusive/Developmental Advising Model that we utilize in constructive intervention include:
- Academic Improvement Plans (Academic Warning, Academic Probation)
- Mandatory Advising Conferences
- Early Alerts
- Mid-term Unsatisfactory Grade Alert
Throughout each semester, Advisor-Advocates’ roles are expanded to meet the needs of advisees at varying levels and class performance.
Interventions include semester-long monitoring of students on academic plans, providing academic counseling and making appropriate referrals for students who are reported as being in academic jeopardy.
Early Alerts are reported as soon as at the end of the fourth-week of class and are used to follow up with advisees regarding the need to become vested in their education even in the very first semester.
Mid-term Unsatisfactory Grade Alerts allows for conversation to also improve performance and to utilize campus resources aligned with helping them to be successful.
The foundation of these interventions is the mandatory advising conferences scheduled strategically through the semester. They serve as a means to address reported alerts along with other matters that may be affecting students’ performance. The Intervention goal is to guide and direct students into the focus of now, while demonstrating to them how to build a solid educational foundation that will carry them to the ultimate goal of obtaining a college degree without collapse.
Mathematics, Reading and Writing Skills Lab
The CARS Skills Labs provides tutoring service in mathematics, reading, and writing. The Skills Lab provides tutoring services primarily to freshman students needing basic skills support but is open to all students. Tutoring supplements classroom instruction and creates more time for students by providing study sessions and reviews of classroom lessons. The Skills Lab is a place for studying and improving classroom skills and competencies. Tutoring is provided through staff and trained peer tutors.
The Skills Lab is staffed by a coordinator who oversees and supports student tutors who are trained to build relationships with clients and to help students seeking assistance to gain confidence while refining their skills in mathematics, reading and writing in addition to a math coach and interventionist. Tutors also partner with classroom teachers to reinforce lessons. Students enrolled in core curriculum and mathematics-based courses are required to complete lab hours each semester. CARS partners with all three schools to hire upper-division students who are capable, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and friendly as lab tutors.
Tutoring services are free, and the lab hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Skills Labs are located in Rooms 101, 102 and 116 in Sarah A. Blocker Hall.