Ole Miss Introduces REBS Summer Bridge Program

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Derek Cowherd, Senior Associate A.D. for Academic Support
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Derek Cowherd, Senior Associate A.D. for Academic Support
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

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

07/10/2014 - Academic Support

Rebels Make the Grade

Another successful Ole Miss athletics season came to a close last month, but the accolades continue to come in for the Rebels. Seventy-nine Ole Miss student-athletes were named to the 2014 Spring ... Read More [+]

06/10/2014 - Academic Support

Ole Miss Has Successful Spring In Classroom

While the Ole Miss baseball team prepares for the College World Series in Omaha and members of the track and field team get ready to compete in the NCAA Championships this weekend in Oregon, it was... Read More [+]

06/05/2014 - Academic Support

Backstrom Named Academic All-America

Ole Miss men's tennis senior Johan Backstrom has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Third Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) ... Read More [+]

05/29/2014 - Academic Support

John Hall Honored As SEC Professor Of The ...

Things have not turned out quite as planned for Dr. John E. Hall, the Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Mississippi. But, for the 2014... Read More [+]

05/15/2014 - Academic Support

Rebels Named Academic All-District

A trio of Ole Miss student-athletes were honored Thursday with selection to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District At-Large Team for their outstanding performance in the classroom and on the ... Read More [+]

05/14/2014 - Academic Support

Ole Miss Posts Strong APR Scores For 2012-13

While excelling on the fields and courts, Ole Miss student-athletes have achieved academic success as well, with all 18 teams scoring well above the national cutoff standard in the latest Academic ... Read More [+]

05/13/2014 - Academic Support

Rebels Take Part In Special Graduation...

Caroline Rohde-Moe of the nationally ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team and graduate athletic trainers Ben Angle and Karah Sims were presented their degrees in a special graduation ceremony Monday... Read More [+]

05/10/2014 - Academic Support

Special Day For Many Rebels

Saturday was a special day in the lives of many Ole Miss student-athletes, as they participated in graduation ceremonies. While wowing Rebel fans on the fields and courts, many of the graduates... Read More [+]

05/07/2014 - Academic Support

Three Sports Earn Prestigious APR Award

Three Ole Miss teams have been recognized among the elite academic programs in the country in their sport with the NCAA's announcement of the public recognition awards on Wednesday. The Ole Miss... Read More [+]

04/30/2014 - Academic Support

John Hall Named 2014 SEC Professor of the ...

The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday its 2014 SEC Professor of the Year, Dr. John E. Hall, the Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of... Read More [+]

Facebook
Twitter
Blog
  • Volleyball Opens Steven McRoberts Era

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Volleyball

    Here are three pieces to keep in mind as we look ahead to the Ole Miss volleyball team's season-opening weekend in Buffalo, New York, starting with Canisius on Friday morning, the first of four matches over three days at the... read more

  • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Football

    The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 1 (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

  • Dome, Sweet Dome for Atlanta Area Rebels

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Football

    For high school football players in Georgia, all roads lead to the Georgia Dome and the state championships.  For a handful of Rebels, those roads lead home, as Ole Miss opens the 2014 season against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A... read more

  • VIDEO: Forward Together Construction Update

    Monday, August 25, 2014 - Athletics

    read more

  • Relentless is the Word on Defense

    Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Football

    ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy asked each of the 65 coaches from the Power Five conferences to describe their team in one word.  Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's word? Relentless. The same can be said of the Ole Miss defense.  And... read more

  • McCormick, Defense Shine in Win

    Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Soccer

    After playing 110 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Georgia on Friday night, Ole Miss responded with a gutsy 1-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. The defense, led by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick was the story of the... read more

  • Rebels Battle to Draw on Historic Night

    Friday, August 22, 2014 -

    Big time crowd for @SECNetwork live sports event debut. Record attendance of 1,823 for @OleMissSoccer Let's finish strong.-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August 23, 2014 Ole Miss kicked off the 2014 season in thrilling fashion, rallying to a 1-1 draw with... read more

  • Kiffin Pleased with Defensive Line Progress

    Friday, August 22, 2014 - Football

    Like defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin has been pleased with his players throughout fall camp, particularly the depth bolstered by the return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and the addition of sophomore Fadol Brown and... read more

  • The Season: Ole Miss Volleyball Day One

    Friday, August 22, 2014 - Volleyball

    THE SEASON: Volleyball - Day One from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

  • Rebels Kick-Off Season on National Stage

    Friday, August 22, 2014 - Soccer

    Three things from Ole Miss soccer head coach Matt Mott, previewing the season opener against Georgia on Friday night. Rebels Look to Take Next Step Ole Miss made history this past season, not only setting a school record for wins,... read more

  • Nkemdiche Headlines Retooled D-Line

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Football

    The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center.  With a season of experience... read more

  • The Season: Ole Miss Football Sneak Peak

    Monday, August 18, 2014 - Football

    The Season: Ole Miss Football 2014: Episode 1 Sneak Peak from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

  • Wallace: 'It's My Offense'

    Monday, August 18, 2014 - Football

    The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more

  • VIDEO: We Are Ole Miss

    Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Athletics

    We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

  • VIDEO: Ole Miss Football: Fins Up (Part 2)

    Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Football

    In case you missed it, Fins Up (Part 1) from last year:... read more