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November 19, 2012
FRYE Men's Oxford Chestnut FRYE Jones Men's GradesFirst is a program that allows instructors to track and take note of students who are struggling and may need help.
About 4,000 WSU students were in GradesFirst this semester.
“Sometimes students just need to become aware that their instructor is concerned,” William Vanderburgh, executive director of the Office for Faculty Development and Student Success at Wichita State, said. “Other times, they might need coaching on study skills or time management.”
This is the program’s second year at WSU.
GradesFirst is used in the Athletics Department, Multicultural Student Mentoring Program, and several other programs. It is part of the Graduation Partnership, which is WSU’s improvement initiative for reaccreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
The Athletics Department uses several aspects of GradesFirst, including the study hall function, tutoring and a weekly calendar shows the athlete’s schedule.
“Our staff uses the progress report campaign twice a semester to send out requests to all student athlete instructors,” Valarie Wadsworth, Director of Compliance, said. “We also have to make sure they are making progress towards their degree to meet NCAA standards.”
“I know weekly how all our players are doing,” women’s basketball coach Jody Adams said. “Without it, we probably wouldn’t see the success we do, honestly.”
Oxford Chestnut Jones Men's Men's FRYE FRYE Students involved in the program said there is success in GradesFirst. “It’s part of the Multicultural Student Mentoring Program,” senior Chieraqui Kemmerly said.
Alicia Newell, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs, keeps Kemmerly in the loop about her grades.
“Alicia Newell pulls grades approximately every month to track students,” Kemmerly said. “That way she can see if we’re in jeopardy of failing a class. She sits down with students to help them succeed at WSU.”
“In future years we will keep adding students to the pool until the entire undergraduate population is included,” Vandeburgh said.
“Being flagged in GradesFirst is not like being called to the principal’s office, it is a helping hand reaching out to offer assistance,” she said.