Academic Probation Forum

Bryan Jones

If a student hasn’t been doing well in school, they might feel ignored by the university they are paying money to attend. As full time students, they deserve the full-time attention of the faculty. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and some poor souls get pushed aside in their academic journey. They are punished for their poor grades by being put on “Academic Probation.”

On a brighter note, a forum was held for those who have been put on probation by some concerned faculty and staff here at Jacksonville University. On Friday, Jan. 27, approximately 25 students sat in the Gooding Auditorium to hear advice and encouragement from a concerned staff. Pizza was available for those in attendance.

Katrina Coakley, director of the Advising Center, opened up the forum, indicating that it’s purpose was to inform those present of a few resources available on campus students could visit for help.First to share was Julius Demps Ph.D., an assistant professor of management. He spoke the longest, detailing his long and arduous journey through undergraduate school. Demps spent a total of 11 years in school. He began at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and ended up graduating from Florida State University with a degree in sociology. He then went on to graduate school at Webster University to earn his master’s degree in human resources development and continued further to earn his doctorate in education and organizational leadership from Northcentral University.

Despite beginning his college career with plans to become an anesthesiologist, Demps ended up in a much different place. He said he owed his parents a lot for their support during his journey, especially his father, who told him “’I don’t care if you make toothpicks.”  Demps credits his father for instilling the idea of being the best at what he did, no matter what it was.

He passed this message on to those students in attendance.

“Find out what you are good at,” Demps said. “You belong here; we just have to find out where.”

He also gave one very direct piece of advice.

“I want each and every one of you to reach out to your academic advisor.”
The next person to speak was Steve Montesinos, a counselor at the counseling center. He offered two resources to students. The first was the counseling center, which he stressed as being very helpful, especially from his own experience. He addressed a few concerns that students might have when considering going to counseling. Namely, he pointed out that it does not attach to your academic record, and is extremely confidential.

Montesinos spoke on how it does not mean that you are “crazy or weak” if you decide to seek help.

“It takes strength to ask for your support,” he said.

He also spoke on behalf of another resource on campus, the Career Development Center. He invited students to come visit them on the third floor of the Davis Student Commons, where students are able to take a career assessment test.

Jody Kamens, the learning center coordinator, began her presentation with a short test, asking students to write down where she was born, where she was from and what she did over winter break. It illustrated the frustration of not knowing the answers to questions, especially when the answers haven’t been given. Kamens then shared three strategies to help students succeed.  Firstly, she recommended a committed change to student’s study habits. For example, a student could add an hour to the amount of time spent studying for each class per week. Secondly, students can make that change count by being productive during that additional hour. Lastly, one has to stick to the strategy until it becomes routine.

Kamens made sure to invite all in attendance to visit the Student Support Services located on the top floor of the Swisher Library.

One of the last people to speak was Quintan Salery, an academic success coach. He spoke about goal setting. He said that in order to achieve your goals you need to have self-motivation, make your goal achievable, put a date on it, manage your time well, and develop the habit of studying at the same time every day.

Parker Carlyle, a freshman on academic probation, commented on how he thought the forum would help him.

“I’m optimistic as to this advancing my education.”