Stephen F. Austin State University

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Student Success Passport Program helps students sharpen professional skills, compete for scholarships

August 29, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University's Rusche College of Business has implemented the Student Success Passport Program to help students sharpen their professional skills while competing for scholarships through events such as the mock career fair and career-readying assignments on Desire2Learn, the university's online course-delivery system.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Hundreds of students in Stephen F. Austin State University's Rusche College of Business are taking part in a unique program designed to help them sharpen their professional skills while competing for scholarships.

Since its launch in October 2015, the Student Success Passport Program has hosted events ranging from career fairs to etiquette workshops aimed at introducing students to varying aspects of the professional business world.

"The program was little more than an idea last summer, and in just one year, it has become an integral part of the college and an important means by which we can advance our mission," said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Rusche College of Business.

The Student Success Passport Program provides a formalized strategy for student leadership development and career launch. The program also provides students with opportunities to enhance their skills and develop personal and professional branding, experiential learning, leadership development, and engage in college activities and events.

This fall, program representatives will be working closely with staff members in SFA's Center for Career and Professional Development to engage students with Jobs4Jacks, an online career-management platform that helps students prepare for their careers. This collaboration will help motivate students to participate in career-readying activities such as mock interviews, résumé critiques, internship searches and more.

"This collaboration is just one way the program is maximizing the services already available on campus," said Dr. Ann Wilson, associate dean of the Rusche College of Business.

Students who have declared majors within the Rusche College of Business are automatically enrolled in the program; however, participation is voluntary. The program works on a point system, where students create portfolios of activities in Desire2Learn, the university's online course-delivery system, and accumulate points for participation in projects and event attendance.

Additionally, the program is implementing a mentoring program where upperclassmen can help underclassmen transition into the Student Success Passport Program.

Students enrolled in the program will be completing assignments on their own time, but Megan Sellers, coordinator for student success and corporate engagement in the College of Business, and Wilson will be offering students weekly one-on-one help in the computer lab located in the McGee Business Building, Room 377.

"Many of these assignments are real-world tasks such as résumé writing, and some students don't have experience with this," Sellers said. "We want to offer this lab time to help bridge the learning gap and give students access to computers and guidance."

At the end of each semester, scholarships are awarded to students with the most points. During the 2015-16 academic year, the Student Success Passport Program awarded $50,000 to top program participants.

"The generous scholarship gift has allowed deserving, hardworking students the opportunity to earn tuition money," Wilson said. "The program allows students to participate in experiential learning activities in the classroom that help them apply theory to practice. The scholarship funds also provide students the opportunity to compete in business subjects against other business students in state and national conferences."