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Helping first-years Bounce Back

By Communications Staff

A new program launching this term aims to help first-year students who are struggling with their academics get back on track.

‘Bounce Back’ is a partnership of the Division of Student Affairs and the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Every first-year student in the faculty who is at risk of academic probation will be invited to be paired with a trained upper-year mentor who will guide them in reflecting on their first semester, work with them to explore their stress points and coping skills, help them set academic goals and identify ways to achieve success by the end of the year.

“We are very excited about Bounce Back as an additional way we can support our students during the first-year transition to university,” says Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney.

“The Faculty of Arts and Science welcomes this opportunity to offer a new way of providing assistance to those students who may need focused support,” says Dr. Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Peer mentoring can be very effective in helping students address the issues that may have led to their academic difficulties in the first term.”

The upper-year facilitators will help the students develop specific learning plans and access supports and resources on campus, as needed, including Student Academic Success Services and Health, Counselling and Disability Services.

Lindsay Bell, Con Ed ‘14, applied to be a facilitator because she wants to pass on her experience and training to help others with their first-year transition.

“If I can make that process easier for even a few students, I will be happy,” she says. “I hope that my mentees will be able to find value in the resources and skills that I will share with them. I want them to find comfort in the fact that someone at Queen's really cares about them and how they are doing - mentally, physically, and emotionally.”

The program was recommended by the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health and modelled on the University of Guelph's Bounce Back program. Its pilot year is being generously supported by The Jack Project @ Queen’s as well as private donors. Further support is being sought through the half-billion dollar Initiative Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Queen’s history.

Visit the Bounce Back website for more information.