New PACE and STEP initiatives will elevate the student experience from day one

The Burton Center for Student Success and the Office of Career and Life Planning have announced a new joint initiative to guide students through the college experience.  

The PACE (Persistence and Completion Experience) + STEP (Student Transitions and Experiential Preparation) Initiative focuses on ensuring student success by providing support from day one. The initiative brings together several different campus resources, including peer academic mentoring services, the Ratchford Writing Center, and Career and Life Planning, to help students perform well academically while in school and find a fulfilling career after graduation.  

The initiative builds on and strengthens the First-Year Seminar (FYS) program started in 2014. When new students start their first semester, they are assigned a faculty mentor or First-Year Advisor and take the First-Year Seminar course (CLA-199). In the FYS course, students participate in “common programs” designed to familiarize them with Lees-McRae and build their knowledge base.  

Starting with the Fall 2021 semester, FYS will feature an increased focus on major and career exploration and experiential learning as well, and the Burton Center for Student Success and Career and Life Planning Teams will take a more active role in student instruction. The first concrete changes for new students will be direct instruction in persistence skills and the introduction of the Explore Guide, a new workbook that will encourage students to begin thinking about their future.  

The goal of this first year is to help students develop self-efficacy and personal responsibility, feel a sense of belonging at the college, and understand the value of the curriculum, which will increase the chances of these students completing their college degree. The Explore Guide builds on this instruction by providing information about careers that fit well with different personalities, values, and interests and shows how the academic programs offered at Lees-McRae can help students achieve their career goals.  

Moving forward, PACE will help students develop personal accountability, learn how to advocate for themselves, become lifelong learners, and persist to graduation, with STEP complementing those skills and preparing students to find meaningful employment. PACE will offer programming predominantly focused on the first two years of the college experience and STEP will mainly focus on the final two years, but the resources will be integrated throughout a student’s time at Lees-McRae.  

By Emily WebbSeptember 10, 2021