Fort Hays State University recently received a boost for its Thriving Tigers initiative from AT&T.
Fort Hays hosted a press conference earlier this month announcing the donation and re-introducing member’s of the campus to the program.
The $10,000 will help pay for software for the three programs that encompass Thriving Tigers: TigerLink, TigerConnect and TigerIQ.
Thriving Tigers, a term coined by senior Kaley Klaus, is a program designed with students in mind. The three programs help university staff identify what students are doing, want to do and have done in order to get them engaged in different activities and organizations around campus.
TigerLink, which is new this year, gives students the chance to log their service hours, post and view events around campus and also keep track of their co-curricular transcript.
The second program, TigerConnect, is similar to social networking sites like Facebook and gives incoming freshmen an outlet to meet new students as well as connect with the events they are taking part in.
The last program, TigerIQ, helps the campus keep track of students who may be struggling with classes or other aspects of school, taking on the role of a mentor to make sure those struggling students have the outlets and programs needed to get off to a better start. Students are notified by email if they seem to be slipping behind, and people like Tisa Mason, vice-president of students affairs, find ways to help them back on their feet.
Although it’s too early to tell the reception of both TigerLink and TigerIQ, Mason said that both programs have something to offer to the campus and will be great assets in the future.
“TigerLink … is going to create some great opportunities. … I think there will be some great linkages with how students will be better prepared for a job interview with the learning they did outside of the classroom, how to articulate that, how to match that up with internships. It’s all just rolling out now,” Mason said. “TigerIQ just also rolled out this semester, and we’ve had a lot of faculty participate in it. They think it’s helped. … I haven’t received any negative feedback from students feeling like people were overstepping their boundaries. I think everything has been done with an ethical care to support the students.”
The money from AT&T will also help pay for scanners that will link to students’ TigerLink accounts. Students attending any events or programming on campus will be able to scan their Tiger Cards, and the events will automatically register on their co-curricular transcript.
The scanners are tentatively set to be on campus in the fall.
Mason added that she would like to see students who have utilized one of the Thriving Tigers’ programs. She often has lunch with different students on campus to gauge where they are and how their experience at Fort Hays is going.
“Once a month, I have a lunch with a group of students and just ask them about their experiences. So one month is residential, one month is transfer students, one month its students of color. I create notes about that, and they get to look at the notes, which are private, and then I share them with all the vice presidents and directors of services, and I post them on my website,” Mason said. “So next year I would like to see students who are using the systems also be one of our pulse groups.”
The three programs have gained exposure on campus since their individuals inceptions and Mason said she hopes that their abilities and services continue to be used by not only students but also by faculty and staff all year.
“I like to say it’s about helping students succeed, but I hope that it’s going a little bit further than just saying ‘succeed,’” Mason said. “But really connecting students and helping them have a really positive experience that will go on to the next step, be it graduate school or their career of choice. It’s all about helping students succeed.”