Newman students Henning and Dungan go ‘above and beyond’ to help Learning Community

Jamie Dungan, left, and Monica (Hill) Henning

Jamie Dungan, left, and Monica (Hill) Henning

Newman University students Monica (Hill) Henning and Jamie Dungan did more than just their “duty” last fall when asked to help freshman students in the Newman community. They went “above and beyond” to give the young students all the academic assistance they needed to succeed.

As student facilitators for the Fall 2012 Traditions and Transitions (TNT) class for incoming freshman students, they were, according to Associate Professor of History Kelly McFall, “leaders giving time, energy and care to all the students, going well above their job title.”

The TNT course is designed to help traditional freshman students adjust to university life, and provides ways for students to learn the traditions and history of the university. The class gives students opportunities to engage in service projects and assists them in recognizing and obtaining personal goals.

Students in McFall’s TNT class also attended classes in World Civilization, taught by McFall, and Oral Communication taught by Professor of Communication and Dean of Adult and Continuing Studies Audrey Hane, making up a “Learning Community.” Studies have shown that this approach helps freshman students by giving them a sense of community and belonging.

Henning graduated in December 2012 with a dual history and communication major and a Spanish minor. She said one of the most satisfying things about being a facilitator is “the cooperative effort between Dr. McFall, Jaimie and myself to help bring the freshmen into the Newman community. I find it very rewarding to be able to work so closely with the students on an academic and personal level to help set them up for success, wherever that might be.”

Henning’s positive attitude was noticed by Hane, as well.

“When I watch her interact with students in the Learning Community, I am struck by the way she deftly guides them to success,” Hane said. “The students clearly feel comfortable seeking her assistance, knowing that she will compassionately and competently help them achieve their goals.”

Dungan is a biology major with a history minor and a pre-med focus, who will graduate in Spring 2014. She said being a facilitator means “I have the opportunity to cultivate my teaching and communication skills and see the effect on the students I have had the pleasure to mentor.”

Dungan added that, “The aspect of Newman that I enjoy the most is the level of commitment and care that the faculty invest in the students.”

The Learning Community is designed to bring students back each semester, help them succeed, and prepare for future jobs. McFall and Hane said Henning and Dungan’s efforts make this objective possible.

As for Henning and Dungan, both have plans to develop their skills beyond facilitators. Henning plans to attend law school in Fall 2013. Dungan’s plans after graduation include medical school followed by practicing medicine in underserved areas.