The Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Zone, also known as the “Achievement Zone” opened its doors in the fall of 2006. Under the direction of Dr. Paula Congleton, the Zone services the 400 student-athletes attending Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) as full-time students enrolled in a minimum of 12 units, including 9 mandatory core academic units.
The philosophy is based on encouraging student-athletes to fully engage in personal growth and to support them in the achievement of empowerment. Communication, team chemistry, discipline and accountability are elements that can be integrated into any environment or situation. All of these concepts are a natural fit in the Achievement Zone. Student-athletes can build a community of learners who take active responsibility for their academic achievement while enjoying the accolades of their athletic accomplishments.
Strategies used by the Achievement Zone staff include individualized attention, study skills training, and taking notes, as well as encouragement to assume responsibility for academic successes and failures.
The success of our program also stems from the uniqueness of the staff. Each staff member has participated in athletics. Each brings an expertise that has helped them identify with the student-athletes. They understand that most college students are not independent self-regulated learners. One of the aims of this program is to help students become self-directed learners.
Providing students with accurate, targeted feedback is key in developing their capabilities as self-directed learners. Each staff member works at conveying respect and engaging in active learning to understand the student-athlete’s emotional, social, intellectual needs, concerns, and goals.
Overwhelming support has been expressed as far as favorable perceptions of the staff, the tutoring services, the support and assistance they receive from the staff, and having the opportunity to study with other athletes. The coaches, faculty and athletes are seeing the rewards of our unique program. We continue to enhance our program based on self-efficacy and sports psychology assisting student athletes in capitalizing on the transfer of skills from the athletic to the academic domain that can help them to build on skills such as discipline, focus and concentration, leadership, teamwork, responsibility, and determination and apply them to academic endeavors.