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Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Feb. 3, 2006

In a previous column I noted two things that I would like to discuss in more depth this week: 1. The changing academic environment at Clemson and 2. The significance of Vickery Hall in the academic success of our student-athletes.

Clemson’s success in graduating student-athletes has brought national attention to Clemson University and is a source of pride for the entire Clemson family. It is a tribute to the hard work of our student-athletes, the strong leadership of our staff at Vickery Hall, particularly Bill D’Andrea, and the commitment of academic personnel at Clemson to provide a learning environment that is conducive to success.

As we reflect on these accomplishments of past years, we are faced with changing dynamics within the academic environment at Clemson. The academic qualifications of Clemson’s current freshman class are well known. With an average SAT score of 1220, they help produce a more challenging classroom environment.

The successes of each freshman class usually garners all of the headlines, however, significant changes in the curriculum are playing the greater role in the academic environment on campus. Specifically, the University has reduced the total number of hours required for graduation.

This change has both positive and negative consequences, which Vickery Hall and our student-athletes must address. On average, students can graduate while taking fewer courses. This may lead to a reduction in the time it takes to complete a degree. Unfortunately, this reduction in the total number of courses has come at the expense of elective hours and the addition of more labs.

Loss of elective hours can make it more challenging for student-athletes to meet the progress toward degree requirements of the NCAA. Though total curriculum hours have been reduced, student-athletes are actually spending more hours in the classroom because more courses have required labs without credit hours. These newly required labs do present scheduling conflicts for our student-athletes, academic advisors, and coaches.

The purpose of listing these academic issues is not to complain, but to paint the picture of the new and different environment in which our student-athletes must now perform to be academically successful. Clemson University has implemented changes to reach significant goals and increase the value of the Clemson degree. The Athletic Department and our student-athletes are making efforts to adapt to those changes to assist in reaching those goals.

Under the current leadership of Becky Bowman, Vickery Hall is offering several programs to help our student-athletes adapt to the changing academic environment on campus. Programs such as advising, tutoring and CHAMPS Lifeskills have been in place and are continuing to serve our mission.

Several academic advisors assist our student-athletes in developing a graduation plan, creating a schedule, and clearing other academic hurdles. Tutors are provided at the request of the student-athlete for any subject with which they may need additional guidance. Lifeskills instruction is focused on helping our student-athletes develop a well-rounded, balanced life.

In addition to the continuing programs being offered by Vickery Hall, a revamped study hall program and a newly created learning strategies program have been implemented to further assist our student-athletes in their academic endeavors. EEE (Engage, Enrich, & Empower) is the new study hall program that aims to empower student-athletes to take control of their own learning.

Vickery Hall and its staff provide an environment throughout the day (7:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) for students to spend time in independent study. Many student-athletes are required to check-in and complete a set number of independent study hours each week. There is also a monitored study hall during the day (7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.) for those students who have demonstrated that they need supervised study time.

Under the guidance of resident learning specialist Dr. Maria Herbst and in coordination with education professor Dr. Brent Igo and the Moore School of Education, Vickery has implemented an intense learning strategies program. Three graduate assistants working on graduate degrees in education and ten tutors trained in learning strategies work directly with student-athletes to help them develop skills that will allow them to succeed in their program of study and not just an individual class.

This program, much like the others implemented by the Vickery Hall staff, is aimed at empowering our student-athletes with the ability to find success here at Clemson and in the future.

As the academic climate on campus has recently changed, Vickery Hall continues to provide the services that will enable our student-athletes to adapt and graduate at the levels established in a very different academic environment during the mid-1990s.

Vickery Hall is one of the better funded academic facilities in all of intercollegiate athletics. In addition to funding scholarships for the total sports program, IPTAY contributions provide for Vickery Hall and its resources. Toward that end, we are very grateful for the support of our IPTAY donors. You have our deepest gratitude.

In Solid Orange,Terry Don Phillips

Past ColumnsJanuary 18, 2006January 10, 2006December 21, 2005December 13, 2005December 6, 2005November 30, 2005November 22, 2005November 16, 2005November 9, 2005November 1, 2005October 25, 2005October 19, 2005October 11, 2005October 4, 2005September 26, 2005September 21, 2005September 5, 2005August 23, 2005August 4, 2005July 26, 2005June 28, 2005May 23, 2005April 25, 2005April 4, 2005March 16, 2005February 23, 2005February 15, 2005February 9, 2005February 1, 2005January 25, 2005January 18, 2005January 11, 2005January 6, 2005December 15, 2004December 7, 2004November 30, 2004November 17, 2004November 10, 2004November 3, 2004October 26, 2004October 21, 2004October 11, 2004October 4, 2004