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Pfeiffer University Receives $197,000 Grant from the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts to Enhance Programs Designed to Meet the Needs of First-Year Students

cannonPfeiffer University has received a $197,000 grant from the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts to improve the effectiveness of its First Year Experience/Pfeiffer Journey program for incoming students.

Currently, freshmen at Pfeiffer participate in a specialized course called The Pfeiffer Journey. This, along with other activities, is designed to ease the transition to college life and accelerated academic expectations. The grant from the Trust will provide additional support to deepen those services, providing tools and training for staff and faculty so they can determine more precisely each student's level of  preparedness for college life and coach them according to their specific needs. This customization of services, as indicated by both measurable and anecdotal research, increases the likelihood that students will persist with their education through graduation.

“Because students enter college with differing degrees of maturity or ‘emotional intelligence,' a one-size-fit-all model isn't necessarily most effective for addressing their needs,” said Deborah Burris, professor of Communications and director of the First Year Experience program.  “Coaching students in a personalized way is much like executive business coaching in the professional world; it increases success not only for those less prepared or less emotionally mature but also helps a more emotionally mature student make the most of available opportunities, resulting in a more satisfying and valuable collegiate experience for all students.”

Assuring that students are prepared to persist through graduation is a priority for colleges and universities as an increasingly global and technological job market demands highly educated workers. According to a March 2011 study by the Stanford University Department of Education, customized coaching, in addition to leading to increased retention rates, has a greater impact than financial aid on motivating students to stay the course. This is important for an undergraduate student body like Pfeiffer's, which traditionally has included a high percentage of first-generation college-goers, a group that historically is at greater risk for not completing requirements for graduation.

“This generous show of support from the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts allows Pfeiffer to intensify its commitment to first-generation college students and their families,” said Mike Miller, president of Pfeiffer University. “The ability to offer high-quality training for faculty and staff to meet all students' needs creates opportunities for meaningful interaction among the entire Pfeiffer community.”

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