Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NSU Grad Student Rock

by BIZ Magazine

NATCHITOCHES – Dr. Christy Hornsby wants everyone to know that Northwestern State University graduate students rock. Hornsby, who is coordinator of Adult Learning and Development programs at NSU, has launched a grassroots initiative to show love to students enrolled in NSU’s Graduate School with a week of activities to engage graduate students and faculty Oct. 24-28. Hornsby will track which college has the most graduate students participating with the winner receiving a plaque declaring them the Most Rocking Graduate Program of the Year, bragging rights and swag.

“We want to love on our graduate students, particularly the on-line students,” Hornsby said. “This is the first year we are kicking it off with a friendly competition between colleges to find out which is the Most Rockin’ Graduate Program of the Year.”

Hornsby will post a link on the NSU Graduate School Facebook page to let students know how to join the events they plan to attend virtually. 

“We are working hard to develop a community of graduate students at NSU that combines shared experiences, provides support for one another, and creates a network of professionals as students move through our programs and into their professions. #gradstudentsrock is assisting with this initiative,” said Dr. Greg Handel, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the Graduate School.

The week will begin Monday, Oct. 24 with a lunch and learn titled “Rockin’ and Rollin’ in Grad School:  Taking Care of Yourself Along the Journey” beginning at 11 a.m. 

Tuesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 27 will be social media blitz days with students encouraged to use the prompt “Tell us how your grad program rocks.” Students are invited to post comments and photos on social media with the hashtag #nsulagradstudentsrock and follow the NSU’s Graduate School Facebook page, where faculty recognize student accomplishments, such as when they successfully defend their dissertations.  

Wednesday, Oct. 25’s lunch and learn will feature NSU’s Director of Libraries Dr. Megan Lowe discussing APA and OER tips beginning at 11 a.m.  Both lunch and learn events will take place in the Teacher Education Center Room 105-C.  All lunch and learn participants will receive a grad school swag bag.

Thursday’s social media prompt is “Rock NSU gear and post using our unique hashtag.” Winners will be chosen at random. 

The focus on Friday, Oct. 28 will be social etiquette tips.

Hornsby has reached out to deans in the colleges of Nursing and Allied Health, Arts and Sciences, Business and Technology and Education and Human Development to seek buy-in from faculty and encourage participation. She said the idea is to foster community among NSU’s graduate schools and give their students a sense of belonging, particularly among those who are on-line.

“We have students in Africa and Canada, Florida, Michigan” as well as those in the northwest and central Louisiana region, she said.  “We want to promote and celebrate our students and make them excited.  We want them to know they rule and also let the public know that we celebrate our students.”

All students in the graduate school, including master’s, specialists and doctoral level students and those seeking post-baccalaureate certificates.  Any student that applies through the graduate school is encouraged to participate.

Hornsby has bigger plans for next year. She said the initiative applies directly to recruitment, retention and building positive relationships. 

“I’m a firm believer in word of mouth recruiting, using social media and building positive relationships.  Students will walk through walls for you if they know you care,” she said.  “You are with your school family as much as you are with your home family and it’s good for people to see you together. We want our grad students to feel special, and when they feel it, they show it.” 

“We are experiencing a substantial increase in applications to the Graduate School and all of our graduate programs,” Handel said. “Several of our programs are ranked in the top 10 in the country.  We are excited that all of our graduate programs have both traditional, utilizing the GRE, and alternative pathways for admission. 

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