Starting in the fall 2017 semester, the Career Development and Education Office will pilot the Sophomore Institute, a program designed to expose sophomores within the College of Business to higher-level learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
According to John Rindy, director of the Career Development and Education Office, sophomore year is the “forgotten” year, since sophomores don’t receive the same amount of attention they had through orientation and FYRST Seminar as freshmen.
“There’s a renewed focus across the country on sophomore retention, the idea that people get to sophomore year and, we really never notice, but a lot of people leave their sophomore year because they’re sort of forgotten. So, some of this goes back to ‘Can we create a program for sophomores that keeps them engaged, keeps them looking at the future?’” Rindy said.
The Sophomore Institute will give 18-20 sophomores from the College of Business, who will be selected after an application process, the opportunity to attend a series of etiquette dinners and learning sessions hosted by the Career Development and Education Office. The dinners, which will take place both on and off campus, will feature a guest who will share advice and three or four learning items. Students will be expected to attend all sessions and keep a journal to reflect on these learning items.
As a result of the program, sophomore students will have the opportunity to put advice and lessons learned from high-level professional guests into action for two more years before graduating.
“If we don’t give you that advice, you’re not going to find this stuff out until you’re in the world of work,” Rindy said.
The first etiquette meal in the Sophomore Institute is scheduled for Nov. 30, and Scott Hartle, chief financial officer of Flynn’s Tire and Auto Corporation, will be the guest for the evening.
In the spring 2018 semester, possible dinner locations include the Pittsburgh Technology Council and LeMont Restaurant. Future learning sessions guests will include a government contractor from the Navy to teach negotiating skills and an alumnus to teach high-impact public speaking.
In the future, Rindy hopes that the Sophomore Institute can be expanded to include 60-75 students within all four colleges at SRU, allowing participants to experience higher-learning opportunities with sophomores outside of their own college.
“Through that, they’ll see that there’s value in knowing everybody,” Rindy said.
Sophomores interested in joining the Sophomore Institute can access the application in early October. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, be a College of Business major and have a signature from a faculty member in the College of Business who will sponsor the application. Applicants will respond to three prompts as part of a personal statement.