The humanities teach us to look at the world critically, to think creatively and to treat others with empathy. These skills are universal, and may be applied to any profession, in any place. To that end, disciplines such as literature, history and philosophy have been a vital component of a Le Moyne education since the College’s founding in 1946. A new tool for undergraduate enrichment known as the Achievement Program for Le Moyne Undergraduate Students (A-PLUS), will enable even more Dolphins to build rewarding, meaningful careers in these fields.
Modeled after the highly successful Collegiate Science and Technology Program, A-PLUS is for students studying the humanities and social sciences. Participants come from historically underrepresented families, either by race, ethnicity or income. (This also includes first-generation students.) To date 20 individuals have been selected for the program, and 20 more will be chosen in the spring. In accordance with the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis, or care for the whole person, A-PLUS scholars not only benefit from tutoring and group study sessions, but they also complete internships in their field of interest, take part in community-service projects and networking opportunities, and attend workshops on topics such as writing and career readiness.
“A-PLUS provides students with the tools necessary to tackle rigorous academic programs and instills in them habits that foster intellectual curiosity,” said Lauren VanDerzee, associate director of the program. “It also provides them with a sense of community in which they can grow as they prepare for a career in the social sciences and humanities.”
The core of A-PLUS is outcomes. College leaders hope to achieve a 90 percent retention rate for the pilot cohort from first to second year with students maintaining an average GPA of 3.0. The program is supported by a $150,000 grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation, which has contributed approximately $281 million to a variety of worthy causes since its establishment in 1957.
“A-PLUS provides students with additional programming that both supports and challenges their growth in order to enhance their academic experience and prepare them for meaningful careers,” said Vice President for Student Development Deb Cady Melzer, Ph.D. “Beyond that, the program engages peer mentoring pedagogy that creates a strong community of student-scholars. In the spirit of St. Ignatius, A-PLUS focuses on the holistic student experience leaving a life-long impact on each student.”
The A-PLUS Program is part of the College's $100 million Always Forward campaign, which was publicly announced in June of 2018.