By Denton Josey, Page Editor
In August, Suzanne Dickenson became the director of student athletic academic services when several coaches decided there was a need for someone to devote time to tracking student athletes’ academic progress.
Her job requires responsibility for the academic eligibility of all student-athletes. She said she keeps them on track with degree plans, arranges study halls, finds tutors, sends out grade reports, monitors class attendance and academic progress, identifies and assists at-risk students and meets with recruits and prospective students.
Jared Mosley, athletic director, said there has always been the opportunity for athletes to find tutors, but now it will be easier under the direction of one person.
“One of the things we’ve always talked about is making sure the student athletes are prepared academically,” Mosley said. “We want to do our part in stepping up and getting them graduated.”
Mosley said there are two goals in the process.
“One, to make sure we return the student athletes we have that are coming back the next year,” he said. “And the ultimate goal is to graduate the majority of our students.”
There are three levels of academic standing for student athletes: satisfactory, average and at-risk. Satisfactory students maintain grade point avaerages of 3.6 or better, average students keep between a 2.5 and a 3.59, and at-risk student athletes have a 2.5 or less.
At-risk students receive grade reports twice a month while the others only receive them every six weeks.
To maintain eligibility, student-athletes are required to pass six hours every semester. The requirements for eligibility differ depending on classification, but generally students need to keep a 2.0 and pass 24 hours a year.
In addition to helping the student-athletes, Dickenson has other plans in mind as well.
“We want to build relationships between athletes and professors, letting them know we care,” Dickenson said. “It’s not just about sports. We want our grade point averages to be higher than the student body,” Dickenson said. “We want less students in summer school because of eligibility or being misadvised.”
Aaron Bell, senior communication major from Van, has been tutoring for two years and worked under the athletic department last spring. He said in an e-mail the first tutoring sessions start this week.
Bell said he is a tutor because it is a good way to meet people, it pays well and he hopes to be a professor someday.
“The coaches assure me that I am doing a good job with the kids and that they can relate to the way I teach math,” Bell said. “Sometimes math is hard to tutor, but I think that I can teach a different style than some of the math teachers do and I like to think that I can somehow get through to the athletes.”