Lamkin touts student aid at West Virginia University at Parkersburg

Guided Pathway System showing results for school

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Fletcher Lamkin discusses new programs at the college during the WVU-P Board of Governors meeting Wednesday.

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Fletcher Lamkin spoke about two programs the college has instituted to improve student performance, during the WVU-P Board of Governors meeting Wednesday.

Lamkin said the Guided Pathway System is in place after two years of work by the staff and faculty and results are beginning to come to light.

“Most of the changes are going to be long term; we don’t think we’ll see much in the short term,” he said. “There are a couple of indicators we have seen other than just the anecdotal evidence I see when students come by and tell me this is so much better when it comes to time to schedule classes. They are able to get 10 percent more classes than they were before and they are able to schedule around their work.”

Lamkin said the process of administration around students is improved. He said the early numbers for the program are promising.

“We are really delighted by those data; even more exciting is the actual numbers coming with our freshman class who are the ones most affected by this new system,” he said. “We have a 10 percent rise in registration from the spring of last year and actual registrations are up 34 percent.

“Of all the people who have withdrawn this year, 20 percent are freshmen.”

Lamkin said freshmen are the group that is most likely to withdraw and they have withdrawn at a lower rate.

“The bottom line here for our freshmen, who are most affected, are doing considerably better than they were in past years and that’s a good thing,” he said. “These are things to smile about and I’m so pleased by the hard work done by our faculty and staff to implement these programs.”

Lamkin said there will be an evaluation, one he called a 360-degree evaluation, of himself and the four vice presidents that will be very informative and help the college move into the future.

Lamkin said another initiative helping students is the Summer Bridge Program, which helps students get the most difficult college classes behind them over the summer.

“If I were a freshman about to enter college I’d love to have this opportunity,” he said. “When I talk with students, and certain members of the Student Government Association, they all suggested this would be a good program.”

Lamkin said he proposed a version to the faculty.

“They took my idea, which I considered a Volkswagen of programs and turned it into a Cadillac program,” he said.

When students go through this program, they will take their required math course complete with a lab to support them; they will also have their required English course and the College 101, the orientation to college class, with the full tutoring lab personnel available to help with any difficulty they may have.

When they finish this, they will be better when they have a full course load and able to start their first full semester with the most difficult classes behind them, Lamkin said.

Lamkin said math is first in the program because it is the subject area with the most failures — more than all other areas combined.

“We can take what many students consider an obstacle and turn it into a success,” he said.  “We are excited about this and help students move on to successful careers.”