The Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) completed its second run this summer from July 6 to August 14. The goal of the program is student centered and is established to assist new freshman with the academic preparation and the personal and social adjustments necessary to make a successful transition to college life. Program components included developmental courses in English and Math along with academic tutoring and college orientation workshops for college success strategies. The living/learning community concept was incorporated into the program by requiring some academic, personal and social support programming in the residential units where the students resided and were supervised by a LIONS Program Assistant, resident assistants (RAs) and tutors.
Changes in 2009
Dr. Linda Okiror, director of the LIONS program, was approved by the Arkansas legislature to extend the length of the program from 5 weeks to 6 weeks to begin at the same time as the regular summer session. This additional week allowed for more programming of free time for social activities, activities at the HPER complex and more social development seminars with UAPB faculty/staff. Dr. Okiror added personnel to the program by hiring Will Beene as a Program Assistant to plan and supervise day-to-day operations of the program, supervise tutors, resident assistants and LIONS participants.
Sixty-seven students completed the application process and were accepted to the program with Thirty-six students actually enrolled with an average ACT composite score of 16.3 ranging from 12 to 21. Eighteen students (50%) attended from Arkansas, including eight from Pine Bluff and ten from Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The students enrolled in six credits of developmental English and English Comp I and two levels of developmental math, college algebra or pre-calculus depending on their ACT scores. College orientation and academic enrichment workshops and seminars were held each afternoon describing academic and social expectations, student support services and academic and career opportunities for students. Math and English tutors accompanied scheduled tutorials in the morning and afternoon in the residence hall for mandatory attendance according to students’ class schedules. Enrichment and college transition workshops and seminars were provided by UAPB offices within the Division of Student Affairs, Student Financial Services, Recruitment, University College, Basic Academic Services and several academic departments.
A closing and awards program was held on August 14 for the students and their families that recognized the students for completion of the Program, citing their motivation to succeed as college freshman and to recognize students who had contributed positively to the Program.
At the end of the LIONS summer session, two students tested out of all developmental courses and seven had completed all of their developmental courses to become advanced freshman without educational restrictions for the 2009 fall semester. Overall, the thirty-six students earned a cumulative 2.60 GPA for the session, including three students who earned a 4.0. Three LIONS students also tested out of developmental reading by the end of the session. All thirty-six students (100%) are enrolled in the 2009 fall semester with six credits on their transcripts possessing a set of college preparatory experiences that contribute to a more academically prepared, socially mature and knowledgeable freshman cohort.