The Academy of Senior Professionals

The Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College

Intergenerational Learning Opportunities

lifelong learning_studentsOne of the most enriching experiences for members is the opportunity to engage in college life and really contribute by sharing their experiences and insights from a lifetime of working and contributing to businesses, governments, communities and their families.

The Academy and Eckerd College faculty, have worked together to develop programs and opportunities for intergenerational learning. Learn more about Academic Faculty Grants.

These are some of the opportunities the Academy's members have to interact with the college, students and faculty:

Mentoring

Developing a nurturing relationship with a student that can involve guidance, and encouragement about career, educational and personal issues.

The current ASPEC African American Student Support Program and the projected Scholars Mentorship Program are examples of this sort of involvement that encourages both one-on-one ASPEC member/student interaction and training/evaluation programs for mentors.

ASPEC African American Student Support Program (AAASSP)

One of the intergenerational opportunities is the ASPEC African American Student Support Program (AAASSP).  AAASSP was proposed and developed as a model to improve the retention of African American students with the goal of having a longer term impact upon the recruitment and enrollment of African American students.  AAASSP addresses two fundamental issues:  (1) finding additional scholarship sources so that African American students can cover the costs of the College (including computer technology and the opportunities for study abroad), and (2) providing a support program that includes mentoring, tutoring, and other services that contribute positively to students' competence, efficacy, and overall well-being.

Each student is paired with a mentor from ASPEC.  The ASPEC mentor does not replace or substitute for a student's academic mentor from the College faculty; s/he is an additional resource.  A set of mentor/student guidelines encourages the mentor/student pairs to meet on a regular basis to plan and evaluate their unfolding relationships.  All of the ASPEC mentors in the Program constitute a Committee of ASPEC that meets monthly to discuss strategies, share experiences and plan Program events.  A Program dinner is an annual event at the College that includes students, parents, faculty, alumni, invited officials and special guests from the Tampa Bay community.

Positive directions of both retention and admission to Eckerd College have resulted in total African American student enrollment growing steadily, along with graduation rates.  Although many factors may have contributed to this result, it is important to note that over 90% of the students in the AAASSP continue in or have completed the Program with graduation.

Tutoring

Assisting a student to understand a subject matter and/or develop a certain skill. Examples of these efforts include helping students understand class material in the sciences and math and assisting students develop writing and foreign language skills (both competencies required for graduation from Eckerd).

Referrals for assistance have come from individual faculty and from the College Writing Center. Tutoring programs have been available for students in the residential program and in the PEL Program for continuing education.

Serving as Discussant Colleagues

Participating in classes, throughout a 14 week semester course, at the invitation of a faculty member. Academy members are expected to read the materials covered in the class and participate in the classes.

Participating in the college's freshman courses are the most popular, (Western Heritage in a Global Context) and also the senior "Quest for Meaning" course.

Serving as Resource Colleagues

Participating in a college course in one or more class sessions at the invitation of a faculty member to provide specialized knowledge, address a defined topic, or share relevant experiences that would enrich and enhance the course. Examples of this have included a former CEO sharing with a management class, a chemist assisting with laboratory experiments, a former diplomat discussing a particular issue in an international relations class.

Serving as Coaches for Educational Teams

Participating on a regular basis to help prepare a student group for success in a local, regional, or national competition. Examples are the Ethics Bowl and the Students In Free Enterprise.

Similar collaborations have involved the Model United Nations, the Society for the Advancement of Management, and work with students preparing for major scholarship competitions such as the Rhodes or Fulbright.

Assisting with Career Guidance

Working with College faculty to help students explore and evaluate career options, and to assist students develop interview, resume writing, and other skills. An expanded, more frequent, and more intensive "Been There! Done That!" is an example of this kind of activity. There is also considerable potential for retired medical doctors advising pre-med students, retired lawyers advising pre-law students, retired diplomats advising international relations students, and more.

Joining Service Learning Projects

Participating with students and faculty in cooperative service projects in the Tampa Bay area. Examples include initiatives for the homeless, kids at risk in local public schools, and environmental clean-up projects.

Advising Student Clubs or Groups

Every student club or group that is chartered by the Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS) is expected to have a faculty advisor. With over 80 chartered clubs, it is not easy to find faculty with the time and/or interest to step in. Academy members provide an additional resource and have been advisors, for groups as diverse as the student newspaper, the lacrosse team, and the multi-cultural dance team.

Auditing Classes

ASPEC members may register to attend (audit) a regular College class on a space available basis with the permission of the instructor. These classes could introduce an ASPEC member to a new subject, or provide an opportunity to continue exploring a field at a more advanced level. Auditors would be expected to do the reading for the course, but would not be required to write papers or take examinations. Auditing might involve a 14-week semester course or a 4-week Winter Term project (January). There is no charge for auditing a class, and no college credit is earned.

For more information about any of these intergenerational learning opportunities and/or to provide suggestions for new programs, please contact the ASPEC Director

Is ASPEC the Place for You?

Are you excited by the idea of enriching your retirement in a welcoming, supportive community while you:

  • engage in peer led learning
  • work with college students
  • volunteer in the community
  • have fun and make friends

Come and try us out and see if ASPEC is the place you want to be. Click here for membership information.

Click here for ASPEC membership information

The Academy

The Academy is a life long learning organization for adults on the Eckerd College campus. Our members, whether working, retired, regular visitors to Florida or seasonal "Snowbirds" seek a lifestyle that provides intellectual exploration and stimulation, meaningful productivity and an active social life.