The different schools in the College of Arts and Architecture (CAA) at MSU are known to contain some of the most strenuous and time-consuming majors on campus. The CAA encompasses the School of Music, School of Architecture, School of Art, and School of Film and Photography. The amount of time and effort that is required to be successful in these majors can often leave many students feeling overwhelmed. Now, students don’t have to try to do it all by themselves with the new ambassadors program in the college.
The purpose of the CAA Ambassadors Program is to help struggling or new students in the CAA find their footing in the difficult college world in order to succeed in their educational endeavors. These ambassadors are students who are also in the different CAA programs and have experienced various highs and lows during their time in school.
“The first part of the program was to identify leaders in the college and get them in touch with prospective students and train them to be mentors in their given colleges,”said Jodee Palin, the Interim Assistant Dean of the CAA. “We realized that there were so many awesome students that we weren’t really utilizing as leaders in the college. One time I was talking to a bunch of students and they said that if I would’ve been able to talk to other students in the school, it would’ve been a huge help. So we started the program and split up these mentors evenly amongst schools who could serve as a pipeline of knowledge to these underclassmen.”
These students weren’t solely hand-picked by faculty—they actually volunteered to be a part of the program. The mentors are from all the different schools in the CAA and range from sophomores to seniors. Their primary responsibility will be to help freshmen and act as an advisor to the struggling new students. “As well as being a mentor, they will also stand as a sort of link to the advisors of the school,” said Palin. “One big problem for new students is that they don’t feel comfortable coming to professors’ offices to get help. These ambassadors will help them as much as they can, and they’ll also be able to send other struggling students to the correct places for further help.”
The CAA isn’t the first college to utilize this sort of program. There are ambassador programs for the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture. However, the CAA program is trying to utilize the best of the two programs. Where the College of Agriculture focuses primarily on donors and the College of Engineering focuses on mentoring students, the new program tries to provide a combination of both. They are hoping that this provides the best experience for the ambassadors and will reflect well on the CAA.
Potentially the best part about this program is the positive connections to the community that will be made. “Students will see this program as a real life way to connect with the community and an opportunity to better themselves,” Palin said. “The students we picked have so much heart and a want to help that I’m really excited for the program. We’re hoping to create a family amongst these kids. We want to help students succeed by creating a community. Ultimately, we believe this will help the students be successful.”
A highly critique-based curriculum can be stressful for many students, and it will be helpful for students to have someone there who has experienced the same sorts of things. This ambassador program acts as a useful tool for all new and struggling students in the College of Arts and Architecture who may need an extra boost or a supportive community to get them through the stress that comes with college.