PASS program celebrates 20th anniversary at KSU

Janet N. Aronica

The Placement, Advising and Scheduling System is celebrating its 20th anniversary by preparing new students for life at Kent State.

The PASS program staff will participate in an intensive all-day training session Saturday in preparation for this year’s program, which begins Feb. 6. PASS is a collaborative effort of more than 100 staff including academic advisers and around 40 student PASS facilitators.

The PASS program was started back in 1986 by former Kent State President Michael Schwartz.

“Dr. Schwartz wanted to guarantee that every freshmen got one-on-one individualized advising,” PASS program director Gail Hull said.

At first, only two-thirds of the incoming freshmen attended the day of advising, scheduling and orientation activities. After the first year, the program was such a success that all students were required to attend.

“We really pay attention to what professors say,” Hull said. “We heard from faculty that the students who came from PASS were more relaxed and prepared. The kids who didn’t come from PASS were very confused and didn’t know what was going on. After that, no freshman had an option of whether or not they wanted to come to PASS.”

PASS has undergone many changes in recent years. In the mid-90s a series of computerized assessments placed incoming freshman in the proper classes. The use of FlashLine for computer scheduling and Web resources has brought PASS into the digital age.

PASS is a formative part of the first-year experience for freshmen, connected to both the Week of Welcome and University Orientation programs.

“When we get approached by departments we try to assist them,” Hull said. “We try to analyze if this is something new freshmen need.”

If something is not presented at PASS, it may be presented at the Week of Welcome or University Orientation.

PASS also seeks to prepare parents for the college transition.

“We really appreciate their role in the student success,” Hull said.

This is why special presentations about financial aid, Web resources, the University Bookstore and the Kent State Police Department are designed for parents.

The PASS program has developed to not only help new students who are coming from high school, but older students coming back for their degrees.

“Older people who have previous college experience just want to get the degree,” said Lawrence Duffy, a scheduling assistant and sophomore political science major. “They know the whole college scene, and it gives us less to do because they know what they want. If they work at night we help to schedule around that, too.”

Hull refers to the 94 percent enrollment rate of PASS participants to prove its success.

“It’s a really exciting program to be a part of,” she said. “I plan to be here for the 25th anniversary.”

Contact general assignment reporter Janet N. Aronica at [email protected].