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Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

Help is on the way, deary!

PTK provides a guiding hand to Michigan Reconnect students

One of the biggest hurdles for students is not having sufficient resources to help them succeed. If there are adequate resources, they often go unnoticed due to lost communication. 

This issue in particular is something Schoolcraft has been identifying and tackling, with our Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Omicron Iota Chapter making it their initiative to solve this dilemma for a particular group of students. 

Since Feb. 2021, the Michigan Reconnect Program has helped many students attain higher education that was necessary to pursue more sustainable, higher-paying careers. The program has helped many families by removing a financial barrier and giving everyone access to community colleges. 

“Tackling the lower completion numbers for Michigan Reconnect was a problem that was identified with Dr. Cerny and a number of other staff and administrators. After diving into the numbers, the PTK team knew that this was the project that they could make the most impact on.” said Student Activities Office Director and Advisor for PTK ,Todd Stowell. “We received a lot of help from departments, like Chief Student Enrollment Officer, Melissa Schultz, who directed the officer team toward data that would help them in the action phase of the research project.

As this program has been running for three years, we have been able to analyze the outcomes of Mi Reconnect and if it is actually helping families. Unfortunately, some community colleges, including Schoolcraft, are below the completion rate standard the state holds. In PTK’s research, they found this is not due to academic struggles and curriculum, but external burdens that affect students’ completion of classes and degrees. 

Due to Mi Reconnect’s accessibility for students who are 21 and up, this demographic often has other life responsibilities like raising children and working full time jobs. Some are returning to higher education to get out of tough situations, but are still living in such situations as they are trying to complete their certificates and degrees. This was a topic PTK identified, and thus started their mission to create more resources or awareness of resources to increase Mi Reconnect students’ success rate. 

“A lot of the time we face difficulties that we are not comfortable sharing with teachers or advisors: this is where we come in. Knowing that we are similar in age and possible circumstances, we hope that [the Mi Reconnect students] recognize the friendly hand and take it,” said PTK President Homayra Adiba. “From this training, we learned insider skills to better help our fellow students with pieces of information about resources and our personal academic experiences.” 

Adiba, who is also a Mi Reconnect student, wanted to research why her peers were struggling. The team conducted a survey that was sent to all Mi Reconnect Schoolcraft students in order to understand the students’ pathways and what challenges they experience. The survey additionally asked what kinds of resources the students would benefit from, including mentorship programs. 

With the goal to not only meet the state’s completion rate, but also help their peers, the Chapter started collaborating with staff in academic support and innovation to seek solutions to this issue.

“As with everything, collaboration and a united front is always the best approach to strengthening student success,” said the Associate Dean of Student Success and Retention, Sharon Christian. “It is a pleasure to collaborate with Student Activities Office and PTK to strengthen student success. PTK is under great leadership with Adiba and her strong compassion for students has led this team to achieve great outcomes.”

Being a prominent collaborator of this project, Christian aided in guiding an initiative called the WeConnect Mentorship program starting this winter semester. 

“Our department, Learning Support Services, houses the Michigan College Completion Coaches work specifically with Michigan Reconnect students to get acclimated to the campus environment,” said Christian. “[The] mentors [in the new WeConnect program], who are also Mi Reconnect students themselves, are trained and can provide referrals to resources and connections to all of the various happenings across the college.”

PTK is hoping to establish the student-mentorship aspect of the program as a paid job in order to maintain sustainability. Not only will this program help students who are struggling, but also provide a closer connection and additional support to the campus community. 

For contact information regarding academic resources, call (734) 462-4436 or email [email protected].

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Kathryn Wenske
Kathryn Wenske, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, hello, my name is Kathryn. I was a homeschooled child and an athlete in two sports who actually didn’t enjoy English classes and writing. It was not until I started taking specialized classes after my Honors English classes in high school that I started to grow a passion and affection for writing and reading. I think the feedback I received from my instructors and mother also very likely contributed to the enjoyment I got out of those subjects; which is why I am so thankful for my instructors and mom.  As an undergrad planning to pursue Law and Legislation, My Editor-in-Chief position has greatly contributed to the teamwork, collaboration, leadership, product management and problems solving skills necessary for that field. I also love the voice the newspaper gives, not only to me but to a diverse variety of students to speak on subjects they are passionate about and want to bring awareness to. I am indebted to the team that I have and am looking forward to seeing where everyone’s passions take them! 

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