Whitmore encouraged by freshmen and transfer response

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They may tell the college that a certain percent of students would benefit from more education on blood-alcohol content or alcohol servings, for example.”


Freshmen and Transfer students who have yet to complete the AlcoholEdu and Haven initiatives will be contacted by Assistant Dean of Students Michele Whitmore within the next couple of weeks.

Typically the program is introduced to the incoming class during the summer prior to arriving on campus. Due to the grant that funded the program, and having to work through details surrounding that, Johnson State College was unable to initiate the program until after the start of the year.

“I was quite honestly like, ‘oh boy, how is this going to work?’” said Whitmore. “I was pleasantly surprised and proud of our students for taking the class. I believe over 200 students have completed the first part of the course, which is pretty exciting when our incoming class was somewhere around 300 students. The latest deadline was Oct. 14.”

The list of students who have to be contacted is still being finalized, but Whitmore believes it is a manageable number. She will reach out to them with an invitation to talk with her or another member of the student services division about barriers to completing the course.

It is possible, she said, that students didn’t receive the emails either because there is a glitch in the system or because they never check their JSC email, and she will encourage them to take the program before the November break. The goal is to have 100 percent participation by the end of the semester.

Students who didn’t pass the program with a 75 percent or above will have to retake the exam at the end of the course, and should have received an email to let them know.

One of Whitmore’s next steps is to reach out for feedback from students on what they thought. “I took the test, I had a number of the Residence Life staff take the test early on, and I had a few staff members from other divisions take the test before it was introduced to students. It’s not geared toward us, so feedback from the students is what’s really important.”

The hope is to eventually have students introduce the program to the following incoming class as part of summer orientation.

In terms of results from the program, everything a student said is confidential, but all of the information is dumped into a pool for researchers to analyze. From this data, Everfi, the company the program was purchased from, will be able to tell Johnson State what areas they need to work on based on percentages. They may tell the college that a certain percent of students would benefit from more education on blood-alcohol content or alcohol servings, for example.

That information won’t be provided to the college until the spring semester. Other information that will be given are names of students who expressed an interest in being involved with peer education outreach, and a list of activities that students would like to see happen on campus as part of alcohol education.

Whitmore apologizes about providing misinformation at the beginning of the course regarding the length of the program. “It took longer than what I had initially said in my email communication to students, so I feel badly about that,” she said. “I think I initially described it as a 2-hour course, and because I linked in the Haven educational course it was more like a 3.5-hour course. That was my fault, and I apologize. I want to be as authentic and true to the program as I can be.”

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