Hey all! I cannot believe it is November and there are only 5 days left of classes! Where has the time gone? November means a staff Thanksgiving potluck…which was very exciting and dangerous but it also means basketball season, therefore things are really picking up with me and my students as far as organization and planning for how to keep fifteen guys on track over five months through 32 (hopefully more) games. I’m going to use this time to dive in to what my “typical” day as the Men’s Basketball/Gymnastics Assistant Academic Coordinator looks like! I use “typical” loosely because there are no two days alike.
I usually get to Case Academic Center around 8:30am (depending on the morning) and the first thing I do is pull tutor and mentor reports from the previous day/night. Before I even get to work in the morning, our ASEP (Academic Skills Enhancement Program) team has already read these reports and likely have already met about any “issues.” Issues could mean anything from being late to a session to not being fully prepared or focused for a session. The objective of ASEP is “to enhance academic skills through teaching study strategies, providing tutoring and academic mentoring within ASPSA’s facilities throughout the academic year.” These reports help us gauge whether or not the above objective is being met and if not, they can offer an inside look to sessions and provide us with ideas to make them more engaging and productive. After reading these reports, I meet with Jody Moylon, Associate Director of ASPSA/ASEP, and Anthony Bennett, Assistant Director of ASPSA and my direct supervisor. We review them together to make sure we are on the same page. This is when we discuss and/or brainstorm possible strategies that could help further develop our students through tutoring and mentoring sessions.
After this meeting, I usually have a couple hours of weekly student meetings. These meetings only last about 15 minutes and cover everything from grade updates to just general life updates from the student, such as how they are adjusting if they are freshmen, living situation, practice schedule, etc. All of this information is put into the Academic Update Reports (AURs) that I mentioned several months ago. I currently meet with several gymnasts, swimmers, wrestlers, and a diver. I usually get these updates for Men’s Basketball student athletes through Anthony’s weekly meetings or during our evening study hall, which I will get to in a little bit. In between these meetings, I usually try to squeeze in some other tasks. For example, I have recently been working on schedules and tutoring requests for the spring semester.
At 11:30am, I have a meeting with our Learning Enhancement Coordinator, Christi Turner, and Dixie. We focus this meeting on mentoring sessions. It is similar to my meetings with Jody, just covering different reports and sessions. Our mentoring program is in its first semester. Our mentors focus on time-management and study skills with our students. The idea is that our mentors prepare students for tutoring sessions so that tutoring sessions can be subject and content specific. Our mentors meet with students anywhere from 1-3 times a week depending on a student’s individual academic plan. During their first meeting of the week, students fill out the infamous “yellow sheet,” created by former intern, Shannon Roberts! This is a daily to do list that our students put together to keep themselves on track for the week. This will be especially helpful come January when my basketball students start travelling more for games. Time management can be one of the hardest parts of being a student athlete because of balancing class schedules, practice times, homework, sleep, etc.
Afternoons vary day to day. Every Monday, I meet with Anthony one on one and we basically run through every student (Men’s Basketball and Gymnastics) we have. We are both so busy throughout the week; we may have impromptu meetings daily but we like to have an hour or so to sit down, close the door and really make sure we are on the same page with each other and our students. On Tuesdays, we have either a staff meeting or a staffing. Staff meetings are used as time where we can get together and update each other on things like our annual graduation breakfast or professional development opportunities. Staffings are used to bounce ideas off each other and brainstorm for specific scenarios/situations. I find these extremely helpful as I am a new professional in the field and we have a large staff of varying experience. On Wednesdays, everyone on staff teaches a university studies course (USC). This course is required for freshmen student athletes and covers topics from time management to eligibility to major exploration. Thursdays, we usually have some sort of staff training. Topics from this semester so far have included registration, communication and iPad apps. These trainings are run by fellow staff members or people around campus.
At this point during the day (3:30ish), I usually review the Men’s Basketball AUR. I may go through and highlight upcoming assignments or grades that we are waiting to hear back on. I also use this time to start breaking this 40 page document down into a smaller version for our coaches. A coach’s time can be limited so I make a weekly snapshot of our AUR. This one page document includes the most recent grades and any assignments due in the next week or so. It also includes a projected grade for our students based on progress reports returned from instructors and the current grades we have. While reviewing our AUR, I also begin to prepare for nightly study hall. This means double checking our tutor pairings and knowing exactly what our students should be working on that day. I like to have a general idea of what each student has going on that week so I can easily answer questions and respond when students think they “have nothing to do.” I have been known to quote syllabi before…I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
I usually leave the office for about an hour sometime after 5pm. I may work out or go window shop and eat…more likely the latter…and take some “me” time before two hours of monitoring structured study hall with 9-11 college guys. This can sometimes be overwhelming, but I’m usually prepared! This semester has not been quite as chaotic as I predict next semester to be. This is because my guys have only and will only travel once this semester. Basketball season really picks up in January and study hall will become even more important than it is right now as it will likely become a bit harder to keep the students focused on academics. 7pm is go time- my students come in, check the board to find their assigned rooms and hit the books! I am always available during this time to field questions and to check in with the students; this is when I get grade and life updates. Although it may not be glamorous working a 12ish hour day, I love ending my day with my students. It can be very refreshing and is a great reminder as to why I have chosen this field.
At 9pm, I pretty much go home, maybe catch up on some TV but usually fall asleep pretty quickly and then wake up and start again! Like I mentioned, I feel like my work life is about to get a little crazier, but I also love this time of year. Basketball has always been one of my favorite sports and it is fun to see the guys on the court, in their element, doing what they love! Go Pack!!
Hope everyone has a great Turkey Day (: