Millikin University's EDGE program (Excellence Developed through Growth and Experience) offers a unique opportunity for select first-year students to adjust to the academic demands of college. Students selected for EDGE came to campus in early August to complete an intensive course prior to the start of Millikin's First Week orientation.
Throughout the six-day program, held Aug. 4-9, Millikin faculty and staff members introduced students to the realities of the college classroom through the formal study of an academic discipline. During the EDGE course, students were introduced to skills critical to collegiate success, including college-level reading and writing, critical thinking, classroom participation and time management.
"This year we introduced a new format that was intentionally designed to cover a wide range of subject areas and life skills," said Carrie Pierson, director of student success and disability services at Millikin. "Experienced faculty facilitated class sessions that introduced foundational skills related to critical thinking, reading strategies, math, science, professional communication, technology, academic integrity, research strategies and time management."
EDGE students also receive assistance from peer mentors who serve as guides for academic success throughout the student's freshman year.
"The EDGE Mentors are an invaluable piece of the EDGE program," said Blake Woodard, assistant director of student success. "Often they have gone through the EDGE program themselves and can relate to EDGE students on a personal level. They have already figured out how to work through the struggles that incoming freshman may face."
The EDGE Mentors are upper-class students who have proven to know what it takes to succeed in college.
"They are leaders of their peers and are a constant advocate for other students in their group," said Woodard. "EDGE students know if they have a question or concern they can go to their EDGE Mentor and they will do everything they can to point the student in the right direction."
Millikin Provost Dr. Jeff Aper was one of several speakers who addressed the EDGE students during the program's opening session on Aug. 4. "The most important part of my job is to oversee academic programs and courses," Dr. Aper said. "I work with my colleagues across campus to make sure we do everything we can to give students the best possible opportunities for learning and personal development."
Dr. Aper added, "As part of our institutional statement and purpose, we say 'those who aspire to achieve.' I'm asking all the students to aspire to achieve something that is truly good and worthy as a start to all the work that you do in the years ahead. The EDGE program will help you develop a foundation of knowledge and skills essential to succeeding at Millikin."
Staff members from Millikin's Office of Student Success monitor the progress of EDGE students and work to address any obstacles that might get in the way of their academic success while at Millikin. Student Success staff also organize weekly study tables and follow up with EDGE students at critical times during the semester.
For more information about the Millikin EDGE program, visit millikin.edu/edge.