Following the summer of 2015, Saint Leo’s First-Year Experience (FYE) team gave all students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to raise their hand and speak out with the new Raise Your Hand program.
“Whether it be a student struggling to balance workload, or a maintenance worker expressing a concern for a student, the Raise Your Hand program gives anyone an opportunity to raise a hand for themselves or anyone else,” said Jen Garcia, Director of FYE. “The goal was to give not only students but any and everyone an easier way to get an important message or concern out.”
The program is a replacement for the original Success Alert system, a program with a similar aim to reach out to students who might be struggling in an area and in turn help with retention rate of students. However, the system was not very successful and a bit difficult to work with.
“The original Success Alert system just had a lot of generic information; it wasn’t very easy to use for both students or professors and students couldn’t ask for help themselves,” said Garcia.
As opposed to the original system, the Raise Your Hand interface, created by University Technology Services, is more user-friendly and accessible by anyone. To access the system, a student or faculty member must log into their online portal and click the Raise Your Hand link located on the right side of the page under Online Services. The page will open into what’s called the Student Advocate Request Form. There, the user will select who the request is for and the subject surrounding the request. They may also type a brief description with of any important details pertaining to the request. Once the form is submitted, a student advocate is notified and will reach out to the student and help with his/her situation. The program is run out of FYE but works with the University’s Residence Life and Counseling & Disability services to make sure that the students receives help from the right department.
So far, the program has been a success.
“Several students are going in and filling out the form for themselves, which is great despite the program has not been promoted much,” said Garcia. “It’s also just so much easier for faculty to raise a hand for a student as well, whether they have an academic or personal concern for a student.”
The program was originally created with the thought of first year students in mind, but the FYE team is planning to raise the awareness of the service to all students who may need help or have general questions on a subject.
The Raise Your Hand program allows for students and staff to not only state their concern but more importantly get a response. Students who are in need are finding the program a great benefit. Encouraging care and concern for others, it is hopeful that the system will continue to grow.