By Sean Faye
The winter recess brought a bit more along with it than the renovated hallways as Mercy College introduced the PACT Program. This program, described by officials as “groundbreaking” is designed to help students with the ever elusive helping hand in guiding them through the treacherous road that is college.
Whether it be helping with financial aid or getting a student registered, the PACT program will help make the college experience a bit less tedious, Mercy administration promises.
The idea, formed by President Kimberly Cline, is to enhance the student experience by allowing them more focus on academics rather than having to worry about whether their financial aid has gone through, or if they are going to be able to register.
“Dr. Cline has had experiences in higher education and she has seen different things work,” claimed William Martinov, Executive Dean of Student Services and Leadership.
Through the program, mentors will provide academic, career, and personal growth to participating students.
“She came in and listened to what she was being told by students and faculty,” added Irene Buckley, assistant to the president, “and ideas were formulated and came together.”
“The students who participate will be provided unparalleled attention by professional staff solely dedicated to their successes,” said Cline in a press release.
According to Buckley, the current number of students enrolled in the program stands at 50; however the plan is to have that number expanded to a whopping 500 by next semester.
“This semester is the pilot where we are trying everything out, and to this point, things are going well,” said Buckley
Christine Baker, director of public relations and marketing, echoed much of what Cline and others have said about just how unprecedented the program truly is.
“I’ve heard of programs that help juniors and seniors, but this is the first I’ve seen that is designed to help students from when they walk through the door until they graduate and even past that,” Baker claimed.
By giving a mentor for students to turn to, the belief is that students will be able to succeed better in classes, and have help in finding internships and other opportunities as they are presented.
“We really believe in the power of five,” said Martinov. “We know if we ask any kind of high ranking official in any business to have 100 students come in to get an idea of what their place is like is hard, but asking for only five students is a much different story and adds a ton of potential.”
“We only have a small sample of how things are going, but so far the result has been very positive,” said Buckley.
There are currently 10 mentors spread throughout the campuses, but mainly at Dobbs Ferry and the Bronx. That numbers will grow as the program does, said officials.
“Students, even those who are self-directed, face a daunting array of academic, career preparation, and student life options. Finding one’s personal path through all the coursework, internships, study abroad options, co-curricular activities and job interviewing is challenging,” stated Cline.