Being Miss Maumee Valley

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Springboard! Session 1: Welcome to Springboard

What is Springboard?

For me, it is my pageant platform, which I define as a trifold approach to higher education success. I believe that in our society, young people are entering four year universities because it has become a trend and thus a generation facing insurmountable debt is emerging. Certainly some sort of further education is necessary for everyone, so first, I talk to high school students about selecting the best higher ed option for them. Second, the Springboard course at BGSU is an example of a first year enrichment program which most universities have to set first year students in the right direction; I have mentored for this program for several semesters. The final step in higher education success is continuing to demand our government increase monetary assistance.

Specific to BGSU it is a first year enrichment program in which freshman and volunteer coaches work one-on-one. The Springboard! program is “a graded, one-credit hour course aimed at assessment and development of skills in oral and written communication, analysis, problem solving, judgment, leadership, and self-assurance. Through a series of hands-on, individual and small group activities (some recorded on videotape), first-year students with their coaches assess their strengths and development needs, and create a personal development plan… The relationship with one's coach is a particularly important facet of the Springboard experience… Springboard operates as a model of student-centered assessment; assessment is something being done FOR students, not TO students.”

Why Springboard?

I decided to address Higher Education Success because I truly feel it is an unrealized social problem… from the fact that 75% of college students experience depression to the statistics regarding post-graduation debt! It is imperative to support students, and first year enrichment programs are an ideal way as they dramatically increase college retention rates. While they don’t guarantee a pristine college experience, the skills learned in Springboard! will stay with a student for life. I took the course as a freshman, when I thought I had things all figured out! However, my second year of college was plagued by relationship problems, roommate issues and the realization that I needed to change my major (which was catastrophic in my world!) I found myself looking back to Springboard sessions to get through. Even when I took time off, I used the Springboard! values to assess what to change and what to focus on when I returned the following semester. As a Springboard coach I am constantly relearning the skills offered in the course and reapplying them to where I am in my life. Additionally, my ups-and-downs make me a realistic coach who is able to identify with a wide variety of issues. Also knowing how I was as a freshman in the program, I tend to coach with the mantra, ‘it may not apply now, but please remember it for later!”

For further insight into why I selected this platform, and my own higher education story, read these two posts made in January of ’05: Why a Higher Education Platform? and Why a Higher Education Platform Continued...

Session 1

The first session of Springboard! is not so different than other courses… students receive the course syllabus and we review the attendance policy and grading rubric. The fun part is the random pairing of coaches and freshmen. This semester worked out well, as people with similar majors or ironic interests ended up together. This is especially true of me and my new “mentee.” We both felt a sense of familiarity, and as we talked, we realized we’d met before! Through pageants… imagine that! Hannah (whose name I’ve received permission to share) is from a hometown near mine and actually competed in a Miss Ohio preliminary two years ago. After the program I approached her with compliments and encouragement to keep competing. What a small world that we would meet again and even be paired together!

I am really looking forward to getting to know her more through this semester of Springboard! and sharing more about the program with you, my wonderful Blog readers.

*For more information visit BGSU’s Springboard! website by clicking


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