Ole Miss Introduces REBS Summer Bridge Program
Derek Cowherd, Senior Associate A.D. for Academic Support

July 31, 2013

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- The Ole Miss athletic department recently wrapped up its inaugural year of "Rising to Excellence and Building Success" (REBS), a summer bridge program for incoming freshmen and transfers.

In its first year, 38 incoming student-athletes participated in the program, earned 222 credit hours and posted a cumulative GPA of 3.53, compared to a cumulative GPA of 3.13 for incoming student-athletes enrolled in summer classes in 2012.

REBS is a month-long orientation, one for each summer academic term, that facilitates the development of academic skills and orientation to responsible University life as the student-athlete transitions from high school to college.  

"The REBS program was created and implemented by our FedEx Student-Athlete Success Center staff as a pathway for the best possible start to life as a student-athlete at Ole Miss," said Ross Bjork, Director of Athletics. 

"We believe in providing the best environment for success in all facets of being a Rebel athlete and the REBS program will provide our young men and women the proper tools to succeed in the classroom and socially at the highest level. It has been a rewarding experience for all the instructors who have been involved but most importantly our student-athletes have a great foundation for the rest of their career at Ole Miss and beyond." 

The program consists of a large lecture, followed by breakout sessions that reinforce the lectures. The variety of topics and presenters represents the many facets of the Ole Miss community. Some of the highlights were two visits to the Boys & Girls Club of Oxford and a lecture from Athletics Director Ross Bjork on personal branding.

"What we love about it is you can simultaneously see a light bulb go off in their head when they learned something that they did not know," said Derek Cowherd, Senior Associate A.D. for Academic Support. "When you see them fall in line and do what we ask, and have a healthy attitude toward it, and show up every day ready to work hard."


 

 

Cowherd and April Thompson, Director of Academic Enrichment, were at the forefront of the program's creation.

When Cowherd came to Ole Miss from LSU in May 2012, he had several meetings with his staff, and he said one of their core concerns was how much you had to teach the student-athlete between classes, and how they wished they had an orientation, or a class, to build the skills necessary for a student-athlete.

He met with Thompson, and the more they talked, the more needs that arose during the year. He said it was obvious a summer bridge program was needed, so they created REBS, then reached out to Athletic and University leadership to develop the program.

"It's a program that is run in some format at a lot of universities," Thompson said. "But here, we're trying to get the experts of campus involved, so the student-athletes are comfortable with our facility, with college in general and being able to know who to talk to campus, and where to go for support on campus, not just in athletics."

Another facet of REBS is EDHE 105, the academic component of the First Year Experience at the University, which is part of the academic coursework for many student-athletes. The course shares a similar purpose and learning objectives with the REBS program, but for the general student population.

Cowherd said they worked with Dr. Linda Chitwood, Provost/VC for Academic Affairs, and Dewey Knight, Associate Director of the First Year Experience, then designed REBS to supplement the EDHE 105 curriculum.

Team and individual workouts are also part of a regular day for a student-athlete in the summer, and Cowherd said the coaches, across all sports, bought into the program from Day 1.

"We're excited to see the student-athletes take pride in their work and get stronger academically," Cowherd said. "I have always heard the coaches say that you win your championships in the offseason. We're winning in the summer by starting it this way.

"If they start off with a strong GPA and six hours under their belt, understanding what professors are going to expect of them, and where the classes are, that's not a stress they will have in the fall. They gain confidence more than anything, and they will know where to go for help. It's all a win-win for this program."

With the conclusion of the REBS program, the student-athlete now progresses to the enrichment program, where they will work with an academic counselor and learning specialist throughout the academic year and reiterate the academic and life skills from the REBS program.

"We'll follow their progress for all four years because our number one goal is graduation," Cowherd said. It always has been, but we want to do graduate our student-athletes at a higher rate and provide a better experience."

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

    • Vaught Ranked No. 30 CFB Coach of All-Time

      Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - Football

      Sports on Earth - "No. 30 John Vaught: Ole Miss has never been crowned national champion by the AP poll, but in 1960 it shared titles honors with Minnesota, thanks to the FWAA vote, and the Rebels also claim... read more

    • Ole Miss to be Well-Represented in Rio

      Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - Track & Field

      Ole Miss track and field will be represented in a big way as the world's attention turns to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. A school-record seven members of the Rebel family will compete at the Games while... read more

    • Vaught-Hemingway Named Most Amazing College Stadium in Mississippi

      Monday, July 18, 2016 - Football

      Sports Management Degree - Autumn-time Saturdays in Oxford, Mississippi, are devoted to Ole Miss and college football. The parties and tailgating start early, and by game time, hundreds of tents, grills, tailgates, and lawn chairs can be seen for... read more

    • Ole Miss at Media Days 2016

      Thursday, July 14, 2016 - Football

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} When Hugh Freeze took the podium... read more

    • Raven Saunders the Talk of Track & Field World

      Friday, June 10, 2016 - Track & Field

      After Raven Saunders won her third NCAA shot put title and broke a 33-year-old collegiate record yesterday, she was due for some headlines in the track & field world. Her outgoing personality and flashy demeanor in front of the huge... read more

    • Oxford Regional - The Competition

      Friday, June 3, 2016 -

       By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant The 2016 season has been a big one for the Rebels. The 40-16 regular season record was the fourth 40-win regular season in program history. The Rebels went 18-12... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Sunday, April 17, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Saturday, April 16, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Friday, April 15, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • Ole Miss School Of Pharmacy Names Todd Sandroni Distinguished Alum

      Saturday, April 9, 2016 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThis weekend, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi will name former Rebel football player Todd Sandroni their 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. From 1987-1990, Todd Sandroni stalked the football field... read more

    • The Journey to this Point...2016 Ole Miss Baseball

      Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on... read more

    • Break Out the Powder Blue

      Monday, February 29, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsYou've seen it all over athletics and campus. From jerseys, hats, helmets, and even to T-shirts that get tossed into the crowd. Fans have clung to this over the past... read more

    • Watch Six Rebels at NFL Combine on NFL Network

      Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Football

      Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite Rebels suit up on Sundays and represent Ole Miss in the National Football League?Well, there are about to be a few more NFL Rebels to watch on TV this fall.The Path to the Draft... read more

    • Welcome Back to Baseball

      Monday, February 22, 2016 - Baseball

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole... read more

    • Ole Miss Baseball 2016 Walk Out Music

      Friday, February 19, 2016 - Baseball

      With the 2016 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning today at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. FIU), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite?#1 DJ Miller: "Go DJ" by Lil Wayne#2 Ryan Olenek:... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook