Richard Sinatra, Melissa Lanctot

Vincentian Institute for Social Action Research: The Ozanam Scholar Program

Richard Sinatra, The School of Education, Department of Human Services and Counseling; Melissa Lanctot, Assistant Director of Outcomes Assessment; Graduate Assistants: Brooke Guttenberg and Bari Schwartz

Abstract

The Ozanam Scholars Program is a four year scholarship program, which was created to develop the next generation of civic-minded leaders through research, weekly service, and global experiences as they address issues related to poverty and social injustice. This program was initiated in 2007 and has produced two graduating classes thus far.

Comparisons were made on those who completed the Graduating Student Survey (GSS) in May 2011 and May 2012, between the 1,711 graduating seniors and 26 graduating Ozanam Scholars who completed the survey, and between the 1,750 graduating seniors and the 7 graduating Ozanam Scholars who completed the survey, respectively. Results demonstrate that students who attended St. John’s as Ozanam Scholars were significantly different than non-Ozanam students to: (1) agree that the money they spent was a worthwhile investment, (2) report that St. John’s did a favorable job at providing them with a global experience, and (3) report that the Catholic and Vincentian Mission positively impacted their experience at St. John’s.

The graduating Ozanam Survey was developed by the Institute and used to evaluate the Ozanam scholars on themes that are highlighted during their four years at STJ. To further explore the survey results, four domains were identified within the survey: Partner, Research, Personal Development, and Vincentian Formation

Vincentian Institute for Social Action Research: The Advantage Academy

Richard Sinatra, The School of Education, Department of Human Services and Counseling; Melissa Lanctot, Assistant Director of Outcomes Assessment; Graduate Assistants: Brooke Guttenberg and Bari Schwartz

Abstract

The Advantage Academy is an innovative, higher-education program initiated through the Vincentian Institute for Social Action (VISA) to assist, the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), transition homeless adults from poverty and agency reliance, to self-sufficiency.  DHS provides services to roughly 10,000 families and 40,000 individuals throughout NYC. Through the College of Professional Studies, Academy students earn a 60-credit Associates Degree in Business. St. John’s provides tuition, textbooks, laptops, tutoring, counseling, and career services while DHS provides transportation and child care support. 

In 2009, 49 students entered the Advantage Academy as Cohort 1, and in 2010, 40 entered as Cohort 2. University administrators, professors, graduate assistants, and undergraduate Scholars performed 600 service hours providing leadership, mentoring, teaching, tutoring, and peer support to Academy students.  Formative evaluations revealed significant positive correlations between course attendance and final course grades, such that as attendance rates increased, grades increased. Of those who entered the program, 11 students from Cohort 1, and 19 from Cohort 2 completed the program. The program completers of Cohort 1 and 2 earned mean GPA’s of 2.97 and 2.83, respectively. Additionally, Cohort 1 completers’ reading and math abilities increased from beginning to end of the program, as measured by ACCUPlacer tests, while only the math abilities of Cohort 2 completers increased.  Pre- and post- self-efficacy scales about self-character and academic beliefs were also assessed.

Of the first Cohort’s graduating class, six graduates have full-time employment, four were accepted into Bachelor’s programs, and one is working with the Institute’s career counselor. As of 2012, almost half of the graduates of Cohort 2 are employed full-time, three are candidates for employment, and eight are seeking employment.

In Fall 2012, 22 students entered the program as Cohort 3; they will also be evaluated by formative and summative assessments.