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JMC offers new summer bridge program to aid in student success and increase student belonging

April 20, 2022 - Beth Brauer

James Madison College, or JMC, is pleased to announce a new summer bridge program designed to better acclimate JMC students to Michigan State University and to the college itself.

Made possible through a generous gift from Madison alumnus Troy Calkins (IR '88), the bridge program will equip students with the academic tools and resources they need to be successful at MSU and JMC. At the foundation of the program is its mission to promote a sense of belonging among incoming students.

“JMC is committed to increasing diversity within our college, and the Early Start Program is just one way that we are working towards our diversity, recruitment and retention efforts. I am grateful to Dean Thies and Mr. Calkins for their commitment to these issues,” said Brian Johnson JMC assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The one-week program is scheduled for Aug. 23-30, giving participants an opportunity to move into their residence hall early. This year’s cohort, comprised of incoming first-year Madison students, will be recruited internally through an application process. However, in the future, there will be efforts to recruit students who may not already know about James Madison and may not have expressed an interest in Michigan State previously.

“This year’s group will be our inaugural cohort. We anticipate admitting 10-12 students with a goal of progressively increasing the number of future cohorts,” said Johnson.

This summer’s class will ultimately draw first-generation students within Michigan and beyond. Students who qualify have been admitted to James Madison College. The benefit for students is to have added supports in place prior to the start of the fall semester.

Temporarily named JMC Early Start, the program will be named officially once the inaugural cohort arrives on campus. "We want our program participants to contribute to the way this program becomes known and recognized,” Johnson said.

Students will engage in a variety of activities and programming including events with incoming first-year students in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, or RCAH. “We will collaborate with RCAH for some events, while others will be specifically geared towards JMC students. We want to help establish a broader residential college community and simultaneously make concerted efforts to help students within the college form strong connections with each other,” said Johnson.

In addition to early move in, other activities planned include a writing course taught by JMC faculty, a financial planning workshop, mentoring by JMC students, tours of Lansing and East Lansing, a meet and greet with JMC faculty and staff and a dinner with JMC alumni and legislators.

Beyond completion of the summer program, support from the program will be ongoing as students who participate in the bridge program will transition to JMC’s MADI (Madison Academic Diversity Initiative) program as well as enroll in MC100, which will be taught by Johnson during the fall semester. “Not only are we concerned with students having a successful transition to JMC and MSU, but we are also committed to ensuring that JMC students feel supported throughout their entire college experience,” Johnson said.

For additional questions about JMC’s Early Start Program, please contact Assistant Dean Johnson at John3582@msu.edu.