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Carolina Covenant

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Helping scholars succeed: Academic and personal support and special programming

Covenant Scholars join a community that cares for them. While evidence of that care is seen all around campus, nowhere is it more evident than with Dr. Fred Clark and Michael Highland.

Clark, who serves as Academic Coordinator for the Carolina Covenant, and Highland, Assistant Academic Coordinator, make helping each Scholar succeed academically and socially a top priority. They take their mission to heart.

They arrange for academic and special interest workshops, plan special events, and meet individually with Scholars. Each day, they monitor grades, talk with professors, and stay in touch with students whose performance suggests possible concern. They talk straight but with empathy, expect a student’s best, and celebrate successes.

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Clark speaking with a student

“We want to offer Covenant Scholars as much as we possibly can in the way of academic and social support and networking,” Clark says. “We work with faculty and staff who care about students, to help them succeed.”

At the core of the resources are academic workshops that cover topics such as time management, note taking, study techniques, test taking, and reading for better comprehension. Staff with expertise in each area teach the workshops. Students may also attend sessions on how to study for specific subjects such as mathematics, chemistry and biology. If the workshops are not enough to help, Clark or Highland refer students to on-campus offices such as the Learning Center or the Writing Center.

There are financial literacy workshops expressly for Covenant Scholars. University Career Services sponsors sessions on career choices and the job search. And Scholars are invited to attend business etiquette dinners that are fun and informative.

Clark and Highland are at their best working one-on-one with Covenant Scholars. They also spread the word about what they do by speaking at Carolina’s various orientation programs and to other groups.

On the social side of campus life, they know that feeling good is important to academic success. They encourage students to spend time with friends or their Covenant Peer Mentor, whether it’s sharing a meal, attending a special Carolina Performing Arts event, or just hanging out.

Still, circumstances beyond a student’s control sometimes jeopardize academic progress. Whatever the need is, Clark and Highland work with students to find a solution.

“We watch the students closely,” Highland says. “We can tell from some markers who might be at risk, but the specifics of each person’s situation are always different, so we address the reasons – low self-esteem, an undiagnosed learning disability, family responsibilities, just to name a few – contributing to the academic problems. It helps to address the problems one by one that are preventing them from achieving.”

Clark and Highland get Scholars involved in helping their peers. They routinely ask them for assistance with projects such as developing brochures or fine-tuning workshops. For example, they learned about challenges facing transfer students and created new programs to support transfers.

They also celebrate accomplishments. They organize receptions, lunches, and outings to help Scholars connect with other students, faculty, and staff. And they recognize milestones such as when Scholars achieve a 4.0 grade point average and when they graduate.

The Scholars respond to this care by immersing themselves in classes, public service, and in all manner of extracurricular activities. They are serious about having fun, but they are also serious about leaving college fully prepared for a job or the next step in their academic career.

Contact

Dr. Fred Clark
Professor of Romance Languages and
Academic Coordinator for the Carolina Covenant Scholars Program

317 Vance Hall
fclark@email.unc.edu
(919) 962-3413

Michael Highland
Assistant Academic Coordinator for the Carolina Covenant Scholars Program
318 Vance Hall
highland@email.unc.edu
(919) 357-7689