PLUS Program Services
The PLUS Program is unique in the level of services available to the qualified student who has learning differences. Unlike support programs at some other institutions, the PLUS Program does not use peer tutors as services are delivered by a professional staff of Learning Consultants and Learning Associates. PLUS Program services emphasize Embedded Learning Strategies instruction within a Learning Conversation approach for content tutorial support in individual sessions that integrate a personalized strengths-based approach. The Program does not provide remedial or developmental instruction.
Muskingum University's PLUS Program provides levels of academic support to qualified students admitted into the program: PLUS Full service; PLUS Maintenance services; and PLUS Essential Services. Students are encouraged to match their need with the appropriate level of support during the course of their academic careers at Muskingum.
Full and Maintenance levels of PLUS Program services include: (1) Average 2-4 hours per week of weekly individual consultations; (2) Personalized and course-specific embedded learning strategy instruction; (3)PLUS professional Learning Consultants/Associates; (4) Learning Conversations with academic coaching; (5) Executive Functioning support; (6) Strengths-based approach; (7) Focus for Success system; (8) Academic oversight. For Full Services, a learning plan is included.
Essential level of PLUS Program services include: (1) up to 2 hours per week of weekly individual consultation; (2) Individualized general strategy instruction; (3) PLUS professional mentors; (4) Strengths-based approach; (5) Academic oversight.
For a more detailed comparison of services and fees for the levels of PLUS Program support, refer to the Fees and Services Table.
PLUS Program individual sessions focus on Embedded Learning Strategy instruction within a Learning Conversation approach in which strong partnerships are build between students and Learning Consultants/Associates. It is within the supportive context of the PLUS Program that each student, in collaboration with the Learning Consultants/Associates, is encouraged to develop and deepen self-awareness of his/her unique strengths and challenges, recognize what factors influence his/her success and identify and implement specific and friendly strategies, actions, systems and supports to move towards his/her academic goals.
The PLUS Program offers students support for executive functioning, guided practice for skills building and a platform for fostering attitude awareness. These academic support services are offered within an environment that is knowledgeable and appreciative of learning differences. When vital knowledge, skills and attitudes are obtained in a supportive environment, and time and opportunity are allowed for the student to accept the value of the instruction, combined with student self-awareness, the student is empowered to take charge of his/her own learning process and become a successful learner. Students are invited to gain knowledge and acquire language with which to talk about their learning and explore proven educational tools with which to manage their learning.
Through Embedded Learning Strategy instruction, students are provided systematic and explicit instruction in learning strategies that are embedded in course content. This instruction builds upon the strengths of each student while addressing levels of comprehension and mental organization that are often difficult for students with learning differences. Embedded Learning Strategy instruction is used to address difficulties in such areas as time and materials management, organization, test taking, reading, writing, critical thinking, memory and study skills, among others. Effective strategy use involves not only knowledge about the particular strategy, but also when to use the strategy, how to monitor its use, and how to mediate the complex interaction among these elements. Instruction in embedded learning strategies empowers the learner to become efficient, effective and self-regulated learners.
Through Learning Conversations, Learning Consultants/Associates provide the context within which students may appreciate that they can succeed, recognize the factors that influence their success, improve self-confidence and understand their unique learning profiles and what it means for their learning. A Learning Conversation starts from an understanding and appreciation of learning differences and their impact on learning as revealed by the student. The Learning Conversation is a structured meeting between the student and the Learning Consultant/Associate with the purpose of assisting the student in uncovering his/her specific learning strengths and challenges, exploring attitudes and beliefs, then, in collaboration, identify and implement specific and friendly approaches, tactics, actions and support structures so the student can progress towards his or her academic goals.
This blended model facilitates life-long learning in students which is essential to success in college, work and life pursuits. As students build support systems for higher order thinking, learn and apply learning strategies and acquire tools with which to identify and manage the impact of their learning strengths and challenges, they become self-directed learners. Students gain knowledge about how they learn, a language with which to talk about their learning, and educational tools with which to manage the impact of their learning difference. As a result, students develop self-awareness and self-advocacy skills to know and get what they need to succeed.
During the scheduled weekly consultations, a professional staff serves as a personal contact for the student. This staff is often the "go-to" person when successes occur and challenges arise. The staff assist the student in: transition to college; persisting through the semesters; becoming familiar with college-level expectations; figuring out how to adapt to college life; balancing learning with work and social activities; independent decision-making and problem-solving; recognizing and building upon strengths; meaningful participation in the university community; analyzing current academic status; assessing academic progress; providing strategic academic guidance; fostering student self-advocacy and communication; serving as a liaison to home, faculty and others; communicating with parents about their academic parents and adjustment to college; advocating on their own behalf; having frequent contacts with faculty and other campus offices throughout the semesters, making referrals to other campus offices, support services and resources; pre-advising services; assisting the student in becoming familiar with the registration process; preparing student to meet with academic advisor and faculty; selecting and balancing courses each semester and overall; developing schedules that play to strengths and minimize challenges; creating optimal course load; reviewing transcript and schedule; applying academic strategies to meet college-level expectations; planning for the semester; preparing semester schedule; establishing a grade tracking system and an accountability structure with self-monitoring of progress; and strengthening student personal responsibility and establishing responsibility. These strategies are important for
independent functioning, self-esteem and continued growth.
For Additional Information about the PLUS Program
Additional information may be obtained from the PLUS Program by phone at 740-826-8280, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at Walter Hall, Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio 43762-1199.