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December 2014 Edition

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Report Findings

Did you know that Winthrop students agree that the university has delivered on the promise of a quality education? An overwhelming number – 89 percent – of Winthrop first-year students and seniors rated their educational experience in college as excellent or good, according to a recent national online survey. Winthrop’s participants – 440 first-year students and seniors – were among students from 622 institutions in the United States whose university experiences were reflected in the 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) report, “Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide.” The survey asks first-year students and seniors about five key areas: academic challenge, learning, interaction with faculty, educational experiences and the campus environment. Read more Winthrop highlights from the report, including student participation in community service, research projects and internships, faculty availability to students, and more. 

Family Day Survey

We are in the process of improving Winthrop's Family Day! We would love for all family members, regardless if you have attended Family Day or not, to take a minute to complete our survey. Thank you to all the families that came out to Family Day this past October. We loved having you all on Winthrop's campus and hope you will return for our next Family Day! Click here to take our survey. Thank you! 

Checking Semester Grades

In just a few short weeks, end of semester exams will begin and students will anxiously wait for their grades to appear. Once grades are entered by the faculty, several processes have to occur before students see “official” grades. While they may be able to view grades at some point during the week of exams, non-graduating student grades are not considered official until Tuesday, December 23. (Students who are graduating in December will be able to see official grades on Friday, December 19.) Students can check their grades through Wingspan, the online student portal. When students click on the Student Tab, then on Records Menu, they will see a link to Final Grades. Choose the Fall 2014 term from the drop-down box and the grades for the semester will display along with the student’s semester and cumulative GPA.

If students have a hold on their record, they can see their grades in DegreeWorks, the online Degree Progress system. To access DegreeWorks, students will go to Wingspan, click on the Student Tab, then on DegreeWorks. Students will have to enter their username and password a second time. If a student thinks there has been a mistake with a grade, he or she should contact his or her instructor. Any other questions about grades may be referred to the Office of Records and Registration, 126 Tillman, 803/323.2194.  

Staying in the right “Zone” during Finals Week

Fall break has come and gone for students, and it is time for them to think about final exams. Final exam week begins on Wednesday, December 10 and ends on Tuesday, December 16. The final exam schedule is different from your student’s normal class itinerary. You and your student can find the Exam Schedule here. Study Day is Tuesday, December 9, and no classes are held so students may focus solely on exams.

Finals week can be a source of anxiety for many students and is considered a normal part of the college experience, but what students don’t often realize is that this stress can be counterproductive to studying. Using the Learning Zone Model (Senninger, 2000), students can self-assess if they have found the right balance of stress and relaxation during exam week to make the most of their study time.

The Comfort Zone is where the majority of students’ time is spent during an average day. This is where they are most familiar with their surroundings and the skills and abilities needed to operate day to day. However, little learning or skill building ever occurs while in the Comfort Zone because there is little exposure to new stimuli or unfamiliar concepts. So while reading over notes from lecture may feel like an effective study habit, it is important to remember that the brain may already be familiar or bored with the information and therefore unable to make progress toward developing a better understanding of the material. 

The Panic Zone is where many students reside during exam week as well as various critical points in the semester. While in the Panic Zone, students may become so anxious that they can barely think. Feelings of discomfort, discouragement and frustration often accompany the Panic Zone and, similar to the Comfort Zone, it is difficult to learn in the Panic Zone because anxiety prevents our ability to focus on the material that needs to be learned. This is especially common during exam week when many students experience some form of test anxiety. Students should remember not to overemphasize the importance of the test and to concentrate on slowing their breathing when they feel themselves becoming anxious. Taking study breaks to relax and unwind from hours of studying is important too!

The Learning Zone is between the Panic Zone and the Comfort Zone and is the only zone where real progress can be made while studying! The Learning Zone includes using skills and abilities just beyond the Comfort Zone, but that are not so unfamiliar that they bring you to into the Panic Zone. Getting into the Learning Zone means taking exam studying to the next level and interacting with the information in new ways! Examples include creating flash cards, writing practice essays, or discussing the topics with other students.

To aid students with staying in the Learning Zone, the ASC hosts Exam Drop-In tutoring for a number of courses and the sessions are open to all Winthrop students! These sessions will occur on Study Day (December 9) and the first day of exams (December 10) and a full listing of sessions will be posted on the main ASC website.

By making a conscious effort to stay in the Learning Zone leading up to final exams, students can effectively prepare for a successful finals week!  

Residence Halls Closed for Holiday Break

Residence halls will close for holiday break promptly at 9 a.m. Wednesday, December 17 for all students not graduating in December or involved with graduation. Halls will close for graduating seniors and those involved with the ceremony Saturday, December 20 promptly at 6 p.m. Students will not be able to get into their residence hall room after the 9 a.m. Wednesday closing. If a student must stay for graduation, special permission may be granted by the Residential Learning Coordinator of your student's residence hall.

After students depart, residence hall staff will check every room for general health and safety.These inspections are plain view searches. Staff will check for prohibited items, such as fire hazards (extension cords, candles, etc.) and will also check the general cleanliness of the room. Residence hall contracts state that health and safety inspections can occasionally occur. Students are expected to keep up general cleanliness in their rooms and suite bathrooms. Suites that have an open bed space in them must make every attempt to fully clean their bathroom in preparation for a new student. Additionally, ½ of the room must be clear for a new student at move in; this means 1 bed, 1 dresser, 1 closet, 1 desk and 1 chair should be in a useable configuration. Failure to do so may result in judicial action.

All students will receive a break notice with more information. Students can also call their Residential Learning Coordinator (RLC) or Residence Life at 803/323-2223 with further questions. 

December 2014 Commencement Ceremony

Winthrop University’s December 2014 Undergraduate Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. All August 2014 and December 2014 graduates are invited to participate! The procession will begin promptly at 10:50 a.m.

Degree candidates should report to the check-in area, located just inside the north entrance of the coliseum, in academic cap and gown by no later than 9:30 a.m. Please note that all students must be in proper graduation attire: black robes, black caps with garnet and gold tassel. (Ladies do not have to wear the white collar which may come with the gown.) Caps may not be decorated and only Winthrop-issued honor cords may be worn. Sorority/fraternity stoles may not be worn over the gown during the ceremony. You may purchase your cap, gown and tassel at the Winthrop Bookstore.

Family and guests of the degree candidates are invited to enter the Coliseum through the upper concourse level and be seated by 10:40 a.m. Parking for the ceremony is available on university property only. Those who park off of university property may be towed. Guests are asked not to bring balloons into the coliseum. Balloons obstruct views and make it difficult to see the graduates.

The commencement ceremony will be video streamed on the web. There will be a link on the Winthrop University homepage on the day of Commencement with the link to the stream and instructions for optimal viewing.

For more information regarding the December 2014 Commencement Ceremony please visit our website.
If you have any questions please contact:
OFFICE OF RECORDS & REGISTRATION
126 TILLMAN HALL
ROCK HILL, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2194
803/323-4600 (FAX)
RecandReg@winthrop.edu

Happy Holidays from Dining Services

It’s hard to believe the year is half way over. We have enjoyed your student dining with us and hope to continue the services over the spring semester. There are only a few days left in the semester and students are starting to run low on Café Cash. It is very easy to add more from home! You can log on to www.winthrop.edu/dining and follow the steps to purchase Café Cash to get your student though exams. Remember, Café Cash DOES roll over to spring semester, so if he or she has some left over, it will be waiting on their account for spring. All Café Cash expires on June 30.

And we are running a special Café Cash BONUS promotion. Visit our website and select the $300 Café Cash and pay just $275! That’s $25 free Café Cash just for signing up.

It’s that time again to purchase Commuter Meal Plans! It’s easy, simple and saves money while dining on campus. We have six plans commuters may choose from – two being created specifically for commuters. To purchase, your student can log onto their Wingspan account and choose the Meal Plan of his or her choice – this will be charged to his or her student account. If you would like to pay it immediately, you can go to the Cashiers office and pay – otherwise it will be placed on your next bill from the university. For more information please check our website and click on “Meal Plans.” If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Dining Services at 803/323-2119. Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Important Dates

Monday, December 8
Last day of fall classes

Tuesday, December 9

Study Day

Wednesday-Tuesday, December 10-16

Exams

Wednesday, December 17 - Sunday, January 11
Holiday Break

Thursday, December 18
Graduate Commencement 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 20

Undergraduate Commencement 11 a.m.

IN THE HEART OF THE CAROLINAS
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