By Jessica Sconyers
Ineke Dyer is making her mark at Piedmont with the current SAIL program for incoming freshman students.
“It all about the people, it’s the students who are willing to step out of their comfort zone to participate, it’s the navigators who want to take on a leadership role and become a mentor,” said Dyer, “If you ask any incoming first year student, finding a peer group is what every incoming student is worried about.”
Although Dyer has only been working at Piedmont University for eight months, she still does a lot. SAIL is a very small part of Dyer’s position; she oversees the student success advisors and the learning center. In the Student Success Center the staff has workshops throughout the semester to help students with study skills, time management and other things of that sort. Freshman through senior year, students can get the help they need in more difficult classes.
Before Piedmont, Dyer was at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California for nearly 15 years. “My inlaws relocated to this area about 10 years ago and when COVID hit my husband, myself and my son were in California” said Dyer “We decided we wanted to be closer to family so we moved to this area in September 2020.”
Since Dyer has only been here for eight months and she wasn’t too familiar with the program called SAIL that she was about to take on.
“Last year was the fourth year of the program, and I wanted to go through one cycle to kind of see how it was designed, see how it all went before I made adjustments, and I do think it is a very successful program.”
Dyer has some ideas to improve the program for next year. “Infusing some more intentional sessions regarding academic preparation, so for instance what students would do at an office hour? How they could talk to faculty? Why they should go to office hours? Maybe some note taking skills, test taking skills, and a little bit about time management.”
She also wants some additional training for the navigators. “Friends to go to the Commons with, they have a peer mentor….some additional confidence with starting off the semester strong academically.”
Dyer lists off a few things that incoming freshman might take away from being in the SAIL program. “In the past they primarily took away a peer group and kind of a sense of belonging before any other students came on campus. So I think a lot of the students who participate in SAIL start the semester off much more comfortable than other students.”
Like many others, Dyer also thinks any student who comes to Piedmont is fortunate. “I think SAIL makes Piedmont special because of the people involved with it. The captains (faculty and staff mentors) volunteer their time for the program. They’re not required to do that, and I think there’s just as deep desire at Piedmont to really help make sure students transition successfully to college.” “Every college is not going to be the right fit for every student, so I think it’s important that students find a place where they feel at home.”
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