Sandy Holbrook, a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, recently attended the 25th annual Teaching Academic Survival and Success Conference (TASS) held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she made a presentation to the assembly. The event is sponsored by Northern Essex Community College of Haverhill, Mass., and is held in Florida.
Holbrook, who has worked for Southeast since 1994 and is assigned to the Whitesburg campus, made a presentation entitled: “Student Success Courses: Instruments in Fostering Student Resilience” in which she discussed how student success courses and instructors are key elements in the encouragement of and for the success of developmental learners.
She noted that much of her talk focused on the work of McMillian and Reed (1994) who believed: “Resilient students give hope and encouragement, for it is clear that despite unfavorable odds, they have succeeded. We need to learn from them and put into practice what we have learned.”
Holbrook, who holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University and who is working presently toward a doctorate in educational leadership from Eastern Kentucky University, said many of her students face overwhelming odds.
“Countless students face unique obstacles being rural, Appalachian students from distressed counties,” she said. “Many are firstgeneration college students and many are non-traditional with their unique set of challenges. Despite these obstacles, we also have many impressive success stories. Everywhere I go in the community, I see former Southeast students — nurses, teachers, business owners — who have become successes! We have to share our stories of success in order to inspire others to attain similar achievements.”
During the conference, she heard an address by Dr. Arnold Mitchem, who is the founding president for the Council on Opportunity in Education and a champion for first-generation college students in this country.