New Student/First Year Programs (State-Operated)
Discovery Assistant Program, Binghamton University
Throughout the academic year of fall 2006-spring 2007, DAs recorded 870 in-depth peer advising appointments with students. In addition, DAs interacted with hundreds of students as a result of the programming they facilitated. Many more students were provided with answers to questions and referrals to campus offices. Over 32 collaborative programs were run this past year including those with academic advising offices, residential life offices, Faculty Masters and the Career Development Center. Each year Student Council E-board members survey students to determine their satisfaction with Discovery. Each year the response is extremely positive which has resulted in securing additional resources for the program. Based on the student feedback we received approval last year to hire the DAs for both local commuter students and for transfer students. Local commuter students greatly utilized the services of their DA as did transfer students both living on or off campus. This past year, students living in the two apartment communities expressed so much satisfaction with the Discovery services in their area that they petitioned for a second DA so that they would have one for each of their communities. Because of the overwhelming student satisfaction to the program, each year we have received additional funding for further growth and development.
The Discovery Program was designed collaboratively among academic and student affairs offices and continues to be a collaborative effort among these offices. Students are able to connect with the Discovery Assistants and tutors in their residential buildings and receive academic and career support. Discovery staff collaborates and establishes rapport with faculty and staff throughout the University including: undergraduate academic advisors from all five schools (including pre-health and pre-law), the Faculty Masters, Career Development Center, Center for Quality, International Student and Scholar Services, Library Services, the Multicultural Resource Center, Off Campus College, Residential Life Office, Services for Students with Disabilities, and University Health Services.
One particular successful collaborative project was implemented during the 2006-2007 academic year in which Discovery and University Health Services initiate a project called ‘Get in the Zone:’ Street Outreach Project to Maximize Students’ Academic and Wellness Potential. The primary goal was to establish a program as a collaborative effort between the Discovery Assistants (DA) and Health Service’s Real Education About College Health (REACH) peer educators. The intention was to educate our students so they can understand stress, identify its sources, and develop effective coping strategies to balance exemplary academic performance with a lifestyle that promotes and supports wellness. An initial needs assessment was administered via personal daily assistants (PDA) in late February/early March of 2007 for two weeks in two piloted residential communities. The focus was on finding out what typically triggers stress in our students (positively and/or negatively), how they typically cope, and how these factors affect their academic performance and wellness. DAs and REACH peers (in pairs) administered the needs assessment to 557 students.
Discovery Assistant Student Feedback for fall 2006-spring 2007 Academic Year: