Students and instructors alike are working hard as the quarter comes to a close. This month we’re focusing on an achievement for Rasmussen College’s Peer Leaders program and the unique way one instructor is running a new class at our Rockford campus.
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Peer Leader Program Earns International Mentor Training Award
Peer Leaders, Rasmussen College’s student mentorship program, has earned the International Mentor Training Program Certification (IMTPC). The certification, which is awarded by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), recognizes peer-to-peer programs that are research-based and strategically executed to give college students the support they need to be successful.
Rasmussen College is one of only 61 colleges internationally which has achieved IMTPC accreditation.
The program grew out of the college’s tutoring program, which was certified by the CRLA in 2013, and offers guidance in a chat room environment on a range of topics relating to course curriculum, general advice and motivation. Since the mentorship program’s launch in October 2014, more than 400 students have requested a peer leader.
The program not only helps the college’s students but benefits the peer leaders as well. It provides them the ability to work with diverse groups, share successful time management strategies, serve as a learning resource and promote a positive academic culture of learning and growth.
“As a peer leader I have learned you will run into many different types of students and it is key to remain patient and understanding no matter who you encounter,” said Melody Ware, a Rasmussen College student and peer leader in Lewisville, Texas.
Ware says she appreciates helping struggling students. “I [love that I] am able to assist students by giving them great resources to help them with their needs. I also enjoy that I am able to help students navigate through their course and give them confidence as well as reassurance they will do great.”
Becoming a certified student mentor is a rigorous responsibility. To become certified, tutors complete at least 25 hours of tutoring and 10 hours of training. Once certified, tutors can become a peer leader and after completing an additional 5 hours of training and 25 hours of mentoring they become eligible to be a certified mentor.
The college plans to add more mentors to its Peer Leaders program and expects the needs of students to determine how the program develops in the future.
Medical Assistants Share Their Specialties with Rockford Class
Nine guest speakers—six of them Rasmussen College medical assistant (MA) graduates—presented on a variety of topics throughout the quarter during a brand new medical assisting class at the Rockford campus. The speakers each shared in detail about the specialties on which they’ve focused their medical assisting careers, which is what the new curriculum for the course is centered around.
Debra Slaughter, the MA Rockford program director, was able to schedule each of the speakers to correspond with a specific specialty or topic for each week during the course of the quarter.
For example, Bethanie McCullough, Rasmussen College graduate and certified medical assistant (CMA) with The Rockford Health Physicians/ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, presented to the class on the topic of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) during their neurology week.
She spoke to the class about everything from common ALS onset signs and symptoms, the rapid digression of the disease, the loss of speech, communication, mobility, mood and mental activity, and the inability to sleep. She then shared how it leads to complete paralysis and loss of bodily functions, eventually ending in death.
The other subjects discussed in the class include women’s health, private practice, nutrition, orthopedics and rheumatology, and eyes/ophthalmology.
Slaughter feels the class has been a great success thus far. The presenters are enjoying the opportunity as well, with all of them interested in returning in subsequent quarters.
“Students have responded perfectly to these guest speakers,” Slaughter says. Once the topic has been covered, she opens the floor for students to ask the speakers questions on other topics, such as school, studying, externships and preparation tips for the certification exam.
“The bonus is that students realize these individuals were once a student just like them and are enthused as to how they have evolved into their professions,” Slaughter adds.