The Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) has implemented the HELPer program whose aim is to reduce the dropout rate among first year students. This program will strive to achieve this goal by offering them assistance through the design of an academic route and by providing them academic assistance from students who are either juniors or seniors in the same program as them. This initiative came about from the ideas presented during the First Week of Innovation in Management at the UMH, organized by the university Service of Quality.
The HELPer program consists of two main areas: a redesign of class loads once Fall semester is finished, and naming juniors and seniors as tutors. UMH students who adhere to the HELPer program may modify their class load and reduce the number of credits they register for to better suit their possibilities. Each student in the HELPer program will be assigned a student tutor during Spring semester who will advise them in decision making about their modified class load and in improving their academic performance. This new UMH program proposes that students in it can be tutored by upperclasspersons from the corresponding program.
Interaction between new students with those who are nearing graduation will have a double effect. One the one hand, it will permit the former to better understand that the skills and competencies that must be attained during the first year of college are fundamental for successfully taking on the more advanced courses in later years that are more specific to the professional development of the future graduate. One the other, the expertise from the tutor will provide the new student with a vision of the group of classes he/she has registered for and will help them understand the relevance of the course contents as they progress along in their major.
The HELPer program will be implemented as a pilot during the 2015-16 academic year in the following undergraduate programs: Business Administration and Management in Elche and Orihuela, Business Statistics, Telecommunications Technology Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering and Industrial Automation, Computer Engineering in Information Technologies, and Mechanical Engineering.
There are 20 grants available for UMH students interested in participating in the HELPer program as tutors. The duration of each grant, endowed with 300 euros, will last from mid-March 2016 until June 30 of the same year. To be eligible to participate, student tutor candidates in the HELPer program must fulfill the following requirements: be registered for at least 48 undergraduate credits wherein the program has been implemented, or, if the credits remaining for graduation are less, be registered for those that remain. Furthermore, candidates must have completed a minimum 138 credits from their major, of which 120 of them correspond to class credits from the first and second years.
Further information about the HELPer program is available at the following link: https://estudios.umh.es/atencion-al-estudiante/helper/