The Primary focus of the Athletic Academic Unit is to provide an environment which facilitates the academic success of the student-athlete. Student success is encouraged through competent academic counseling, study skills development, and additional academic assistance through the tutorial program.
An Overview of an Academic Support Program on the Rise
Academic, personal and professional support are essential to college success. At Florida State University, we have developed an outstanding support program which enables student-athletes to reach their full potential.
Our philosophy is “to offer an academic support program integrated with the total university that will assist all student-athletes with the transition into college and provide continued support in all phases of academic and professional development culminating with graduation, job placement or graduate school.”
To accomplish this goal we have developed an academic environment which facilitates the academic success of student-athletes. Student success is encouraged through competent academic counseling, career exploration, planning and placement, and academic assistance through tutorial programs.
Our program operates on a “proactive” rather than “reactive” approach. At Florida State, our academic staff does not wait for academic crises to occur. We gather important background information and build an academic profile on all student-athletes to assess their needs in advance. We also stay informed on the daily progress of each student-athlete through constant communication with our faculty.
Our academic support staff includes a director, four counselors, and three graduate interns forming a group of professionals serving the needs of all our student-athletes. The director, Mark Meleney, brings 11 years of advising experience at FSU to the position. Over the past four years, Meleney has played an integral role in the development of a comprehensive program of student-athlete support, which in 1996 won an “Award of Excellence” from Athletic Management Magazine.
In 1994, the academic programs moved to the state-of-the-art University Center and are located on the sixth floor of the $126 million facility. It includes private study carrels, a tutorial study area and a computer lab outfitted with 16 new IBM computers and laser printers. In addition, athletic sky boxes are utilized for group and individualized tutorial instruction.
Academic Support Tutorial Program
The Athletic Department at Florida State University has made a commitment to providing our student-athletes with one of the finest and most comprehensive tutorial programs in the nation. The tutorial program is just one of several key support programs that are available to all student-athletes as they progress towards their ultimate goal of obtaining a college degree.
The academic support program has a cadre of about 80 to 90 tutors each semester who are committed to providing a proactive and individualized approach to insure academic success. The tutors are usually seniors or graduate level students who have outstanding academic backgrounds. Through an orientation session provided each semester by the Tutorial Coordinator, they acquaint themselves with the purposes, objectives and responsibilities involved with tutoring student-athletes.
Tutorial assistance is available for all academic coursework that is offered by the University and it is the responsibility of the Tutorial Coordinator to arrange all tutorial sessions for student-athletes within the first two weeks of the semester. Student-athletes may request a tutor, or one may be assigned to them, depending upon the circumstances.
Academic Mentors are academic role models who have demonstrated the ability to teach and give guidance in areas of academic developmental skills.
Each semester, mentors begin the process by sitting down with their assigned student-athletes and assist them in identifying their academic responsibilities. A calendar is developed which becomes a visual blueprint of each courses academic requirements. This tool introduces the student-athlete to the concept of time management. Students learn to plan projects days and weeks in advance. Such planning aids them in developing strong study habits.
Mentors are also responsible for providing assistance in the development of skills such as note taking, test preparation and communication with faculty. In essence, mentors become an extension of the academic counselor as they keep the academic performance of their student-athletes under close observation and report to the academic counselor each week.
Mentors typically spend two or three hours per week during the first few weeks of the semester helping the student-athletes get organized and about one or two hours a week with their assigned student-athlete thereafter keeping up with their progress.
In an effort to help ensure the academic success of the student-athletes, professionally supervised study sessions for each athletic team are required. The main focus of the study hall program is to help students develop consistent and appropriate study patterns by providing a structured setting to work on class assignments, and to provide tutorial assistance before academic problems arise.
Although the criteria for mandatory study hall is left to the discretion of the academic counselor for their respective sport, typically, all freshmen, first year transfers, and upperclassmen who have not achieved a satisfactory cumulative grade point average are required to attend study hall. Additionally, each coach is regularly notified of any absences, tardiness, or inappropriate use of time of student-athletes who are attending study hall.
Academic Honors & Awards
Florida State University student-athletes have achieved great success in obtaining recognition for academic excellence. More than $115,000 in postgraduate award monies have been granted to FSUs student-athletes over the past four years, as well as a number of other academic honors and awards. Florida State had 156 student-athletes on the 1996 Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll.
The Academic Support Program is committed to recognizing academic success of all student-athletes. The Academic Support Program puts on The Golden Torch Gala, an academic awards banquet each fall to recognize the ACC Honor Roll athletes, and the members of each of our 17 teams with the highest GPAs for the previous academic year. Team meetings are held each year, during which time student-athletes are notified of potential honors and awards and encouraged by their academic counselor to apply. Combining a strong GPA with athletic accomplishments and community service activities create a student-athlete capable of attaining unlimited academic honors, awards and postgraduate opportunities.
1997 Golden Torch Award Winner Zach Diaz
3.5 Club Brooks Badeaux - Matt Diaz Zach Diaz - Matt Woodward
3.00 Club John Bentley - Chris Ginn Brett Groves -Terry Henderson Scott Hudson - George Otero Jeremy Salazar - Mike Smalley