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Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center

BEST - Bucs Empowering Scholars for Tomorrow


Starting Wednesday, March 18th, I will be working remotely from home until further notice. I will continue to work daily to assist and service students. I will be checking emails and voicemails daily and will respond as soon as possible. If you need immediate assistance, please contact me at .For the latest ETSU Coronavirus COVID-19 updates online, please go to  

Mentoring programs are ways to transform your learning skills and being a life-long active learner. 

Transformative active learning can be scary yet invigorating, difficult yet inspiring, and grueling yet fulfilling.  Bucs Empowering Scholars for Tomorrow accompanies a network of support: Peer Mentors, Faculty/Staff and Alumni Mentors, and the ETSU community.  With intentionality, skill, and care to meet your priorities, BEST Mentors focus on your transformative opportunities for growth and gaining wisdom through sharing knowledge and experiences. You will gain confidence and sense of voice in your scholarships, experience and feel the enlivened and engaged university life.

BEST focuses on providing tailored programming and services to empower students and foster academic success. The support network of mentors facilitates and strengthens the sense of sisterhood and brotherhood among all students who self-identify as Women of Color, Man of Color, First Generation, and Multi-Ethnic (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian and Asian-American/Pacific Islander) and other students. Students can achieve the fullness of their potential and quality of life beyond graduation.



ETSU's Bucs Empowering Scholars for Tomorrow is committed to facilitate a smooth transition to university life and beyond. Focusing on interpersonal empowerment of incoming first-year and returning underrepresented students, the program leads students to pursue their academic, professional, social, and personal goals. Mentors in the program provide student support and guidance to increase the students' success and engagement with the community.


The BEST Mentoring Program is one component of the Multicultural Center.  student access and success involves a community of mentors who engage in various activities with new students ranging from individual guidance and social gathering to study groups. The BEST Mentoring Program aims to:

  • Help underrepresented students to settle and make friends to develop a sense of belonging.

  • Provide a supportive and affirming community to underrepresented students who may have concerns about starting university life.

  • Sustain and strengthen a vital student success program for underrepresented students.

  • Proactively engage underrepresented students with their educational journey and career prospects.
  • Foster a strong sense of community and purpose for academic, personal and professional growth and excellence.

  • Provide students specific keys for college success to boost their aspiration.

  • Model intentional and purpose-driven mentorship where students are at ease to ask questions regardless how big or small they may seem.

  • Equip Peer Mentors to demonstrate a genuine commitment to personal, academic, and global growth and well-being of one-self, their peers, and the community.

  • Assist students to connect with the various academic, personal and professional supports that are available to them.

  • Provide a space where students develop confidence in communicating with faculty on academic and personal level.



BEST Mentee scholar is an ETSU student who desires a one-on-one relationship with an upper-class student. To achieve academic excellence, social skills, and personal growth, the mentee works with a Peer Mentor to develop achievable academic and career goals and expectations. Through the mentorship, the Mentee will grow and have healthy and successful university experiences. To participate, apply here.

Peer Mentor

Peer Mentor scholar is undergraduate student in good academic and disciplinary standing who volunteer to mentor an incoming first-year and/or transfer and/or current student for one academic year. With genuine and compassionate attention, BEST Mentors are committed to provide a support system that students can depend on and call on when needed. The Mentors are steadfast to share knowledge, experience and wisdom to ensure students’ transition to university life is a fun and successful one. BEST is here for the students! To participate, apply here.

Faculty and Staff Mentor

Faculty and Staff Mentors are fulltime employees who dedicate their time to empower BEST Peer Mentors for one academic year. As a BEST Faculty and Staff Mentor, they are a guide and resource who shares wisdom and knowledge from your expertise and experience to help pave the way for the student mentee to succeed at ETSU and beyond. Providing students input and feedback on research, internship, and career options, they cultivate and foster academic and professional success which benefits the students to graduate on time. BEST Mentoring strives to empower students to take charge of their own development and realize their potentials. As a Faculty and Staff Mentor, you play vital roles, including as a contact, motivator, friend, challenger, supporter and more.

Alumni Mentor

To complement the valuable guidance and support of Faculty and Staff, BEST Peer Mentors have the opportunity to learn from the talented and loyal ETSU alumni family. Our students are first generation, underrepresented and diverse economical background students who have existential potentials and determination. When our students network with experienced alumni who are passionate about giving back and reconnecting with their alma mater, the students will broaden their transformative learning and charter their future with certainty and confidence. As an Alumni Mentor, you are a guide and resource who shares wisdom and knowledge from your expertise and experience to help pave the way for your mentee to succeed at ETSU and beyond. Providing students input and feedbacks on research, internship, and career options, you cultivate and foster academic and professional success. BEST Mentoring strives to empower students to take charge of their own development and realize their potentials beyond graduation. As an Alumni Mentor, you play vital roles, including as a contact, motivator, challenger, supporter and more.


College Level Study Skills Inventory

Adapted with permission from Dennis H. Congos, Academic Advisor and Learning Skills Specialist, University of Centeral Florida.

 Discover your strength to succeed with College Level Study Skills Inventory.

Study Skills and College Success Tools
Preparation for Classes


A syllabus is more than anticipating what the discussion is in the next class.  As referred, it is a “contract of the course” by which professors and students follow the course schedule through an academic term.  It contains valuable information that assists students to be on track and propel students toward success in their classes.  So, be advised to pay close attention to the syllabus due to its valuable answers to frequently asked questions that affect college success.  Some of the questions are:

  • How do I get in touch with my professor? 
  • What will I need for the class? 
  • How will I be graded? 
  • What will I be doing and when?
  • What does the professor expect of me?
  • What does the college expect of me? 

So referring to the syllabus often guides students to achieve their unit-by-unit or weekly or semester long goals and expectations. 

Thinking about how your brain thinks: Metacognition

Analyzing and thinking about thinking is being aware of one’s own knowledge, ability to learn and understand, and managing one’s cognitive learning processes.  Analyzing is a mental exercise one uses to recall, evaluate information and image, compare/contrast different elements of information, and infer or interpret a document - metacognitive process.  Flavell (1976), who first used the term, provides the following example: I am engaging in Metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B; if it strikes me that I should double check C before accepting as fact (p. 232).  The process one uses to understand and learn the information leads to evaluating and applying the knowledge to a real life situation.

So to learn new information, pretend having a big brain outside your own brain and analyze the activities of your brain.  Such brain activities stimulated with a series of questions from the different level of thinking lead to analysis and awareness of one’s own learning.  Therefore, you will develop the process and skills to master how to learn a new information, how to retain the information, and how to apply the information to real life.  Students will also grow from writing and reciting information to be able to analyze at higher mastery levels of learning.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification system that explains the different levels of learning and thinking.  Students develop critical thinking when they practice questioning and thinking through all levels of learning and thinking – Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Bloom’s six categories are:

  • Knowledge - who was the main character? 
  • Comprehension - What is the main idea of the story?
  • Application - What questions would you ask in an interview with the main character?
  • Analysis - How is this story related to your life? 
  • Synthesis - What choice would you have make if you were in the story?  and
  • Evaluation - How would you adapt the plot to create a different story? 

The categories after knowledge are categorized as “skills and abilities,” with the understanding that knowledge is the necessary precondition for putting these skills and abilities into practice.  Therefore, students who question their learning and new information at each level exercise critical thinking. 

Learning Styles

Each student learns in varied way, and discovering how one learns is a key element to succeed in a course or college.  Some students easily learn by hearing and speaking aloud.  Some prefer to visualize, read or color code the information.  Still some prefer to learn by experimenting, touching, or dancing.  So discover your learning style to learn the materials with less difficulty and be able to master how to utilize the different learning methods for different courses.  In this way, you can maximize your college success.  

Study Skills 

College Reading Strategies: Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review (SQ3R)

SQ3R is a reading strategy to help students build a frame of mind to comprehend what they are reading.  Students spend significant amount of their lives studying, and SQ3R assists them to study smarter and make better use of their time.  As part of the learning process and laying the foundation for critical thinking skill, SQ3R uses prior knowledge to Survey the text before reading, Question the content of the text and then Read the text to engage and find answers from the text, Recite significant information or summarize in one’s own words what you read, and Review the information regularly. 

  • Survey
  • Question
  • Read
  • Recite
  • Review


Concept Mapping

Concept mapping is a way to arrange and manipulate material in a visual manner to assist your organization, comprehension, and retention of the material.  Using it in different ways for different purposes will be effective. Concept maps can be beneficial to brainstorm ideas, organize concepts, preview a chapter, take notes, practice retrieval and summarize of a text.

  • Chapter
  • Compare and contrast
  • Flash cards



Taking effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill.  Not only do good notes help recall important information when you review them, actually just writing things down can help learn that information and remember it better, more quickly.  Being able to take good notes is also an important way of training your brain to identify, recall and process important information.  Some fields have complex and dense information that require disciplined note-taking skills to absorb, understand and recall crucial information that will help tackle problems and find solutions.  So developing strong note-taking skills is essential.  However, it is not a skill taught in class, but here are seven habits to help develop effective note-taking skills.

  • Preview and read your assignment before class.  Note-taking comes easier when you have prior knowledge.
  • Get organized. Begin each lecture on a new page, date each new lecture and number the pages.
  • Give yourself room. Write only on one side of the paper, use loose-leaf notebooks, insert handouts and study guides.
  • Think while you write. Think about important and useful information for a test, essay, or a project. Focus on verbal cues, indications of importance and points that directly relate to the reading.
  • Ask questions.  As you listen and write, record your questions and things you asked to be aware of gaps.
  • Develop a system. Outlining? Numbered paragraphs? A mind-map? Charts and graphs? These help to organize the note, unit, concept, chapter etc.
  • Review. As soon after class as possible, review your notes. 
  • Summarize and fill in the gaps, which help to process and remember the information better. 
Time Management 


Your week schedule should look like:

Credit hours taking:____

Study hours per week equals credit hours times 2:___ 

Work hours per week:____

Engagement hours per week:____

Hours spent per week other:____

Grand total:________ 

  • Start the week on Sunday
  • Start the week on Monday
  • To Do Lists


Procrastination Management

“I work better under pressure.” “I can do it tomorrow.” “I don’t have everything I need, so I will wait.” “I don’t have time right now.” “Someone else can do it better.” Could this be you? Your success in a class and college depends on your ability to set goals and manage your time. The truth is “Time Management is Life Management.” The following surveys provide a glance at your procrastination level and how well do you organize and plan to complete your task. Tips to overcome procrastination:

  • Recognize the problem
  • Abandon rationalizations for procrastination
  • The importance of the workplace
  • Allow productivity to be the motivator
  • Divide tasks into manageable parts
  • Be organized
  • Develop a work system
  • Defeat Perfectionism
  • Reward yourself for not procrastinating
  • Seek help if needed.

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin

Reduce Stress 

Deep Breathing

Progressive Relaxation

Reducing Stress

Visualization and Relaxation

BEST Signature Events
  1. BEST Success Roundtable
  2. Dish It Up 
    Dish It Up provides a space and an opportunity for the Mentors, Mentees, Faculty and Staff Mentors, and the Student Success Team to come together to discuss topics focused on healthy college life and keys to success. Participants learn from each other how to better each other and they progress in their acclimation into the university. How are they taking advantage of those challenging moments and strengthening their weaknesses?  How do the support faculty and staff are cultivating and practicing the culture of attending and graduating students? With refreshments and music, everyone will have the opportunity to dish it up at their own dining table and in the large group.  Possible topics include healthy relationships, social justice issues, body image and stress relief. Opportunities to gain:Learn to read more efficiently
    • Learn effective study and test-taking strategies
    • Learn and identify how you learn
    • Gain confidence in understanding your course materials,
    • Improve concentration
    • Manage your learning habit
    • How to overcome procrastination and learn time management techniques
    • Prepare for a test or exam intentionally and reduce stress
    • Learn in a supportive environment with fellow Bucs 
    • Learn to cope with competing demands (school, work, family, and friends)
  3. Community Services
Study Skills Links

Focus and Concentration

This site has 5 ways to help college students stay focused. 

This site has 10 tips how to tune out DISTRACTIONS and FOCUS on your studies.


This handout provides the inter-dependence of healthy sleep and academic performance.


Textbook Reading 

This handout provides steps to take when you read challenging text and organize your notes and thoughts.

This handout provides 6 reading habits to develop when engaging a text.  They are very important information for a 1st year student.

What good is it if you do not remember what you read?  This handout recommends strategies to practice that will help your memory.

How you read a textbook and a biography is different. This site provides reading techniques for college courses. 

This site provides classis way of reading and learning from textbook which student in-group or individual study sessions.

This site provides 10 tips to get the most out of your textbook.


Note Taking

This handout addresses students concerns about note-taking and frequently asked questions.

This site simply answers why students need to take notes in addition to the instructors’ handouts.


This site has simple steps for note taking.

This site provides information on listening and note taking.  It also has more links to various ways of taking notes.



What good is it if you do not remember what you read?  This handout recommends strategies to practice that will help your memory.

This site provides detailed tips based on two types of memory.

This site provides specific techniques to strengthen your memory and to efficiently study.

Dispelling some myths about memory, this site gives credit to our brain and provides detailed research based tips and you can practice.


Test Preparation

Some students dread those quizzes and exams.  This site provides tips on test taking strategies, how to prepare for different types of test questions and essay questions. 

This site gives information on test taking strategies as well as tips on how to answer the different types of test questions and key words to look for when reading essay questions.


Time Management

This site gives students some tips on how to manage their time effectively while still living a healthy lifestyle.

This site brings up how procrastination can be a slippery slope for students, and ways to avoid falling into procrastination patterns.


College Health 101

This site provides broad information on several areas of campus life.  It has tips and recommendations for healthy campus life.

This site recommends tips for maintaining healthy and active social and academic life for college students by categories such as diet, exercise etc.

This site provides 7 tips for students to live healthier and achieve your goals.

This handout provides the inter-dependence of healthy sleep and academic performance.

This site helps to learn and understand the importance of healthy sleep and its impact on health and learning.

This site provides information that students need to be aware of and expect as a new student.  It points out critical moments that students will experience during the first month or two.


Extra links

Learning Support Program UAC:

All Trio Programs:

ETSU Advisement Resources Career Center:

Mathematics & statistics Resources:

Campus Map:

Counseling Center:

Questions about being “Undeclared or Undecided”



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