Provost Scholars program affords East Cleveland students a taste of campus life

Students from the East Cleveland City Schools are getting an early slice of campus life and learning in a new hands-on mentoring program launched this month by Case Western Reserve University.

The “Provost Scholars” program matches 11 eighth- and ninth-graders selected from Shaw High and Heritage middle schools with university mentors based on the students’ interests. Selected scholars will spend two-and-a-half hours each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon on individual and group activities. The program continues through May 9.

The Provost Scholars program was developed by Case Western Reserve Provost William A. “Bud” Baeslack III and Faye Gary, the Medical Mutual of Ohio Kent W. Clapp Chair and Professor of Nursing. Gary also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine.

Baeslack and Gary wanted to create a cross-discipline introduction to the university that inspired middle school and younger high-school students to set college goals early. They also hoped to engage students with the university, which borders East Cleveland. They developed the program in partnership with Myrna Loy Corley, superintendent of the East Cleveland City Schools.

“This is a way to get you directly involved with our professors and staff on campus, get into the laboratories and classrooms to both learn and have some fun,” Baeslack told students when the program was initiated. “Every one of you has the potential and capability in middle school and high school to move forward and continue your education at a university.”

Each Tuesday, students spend one-on-one time with their mentors, all of whom have the freedom to expose their scholar to various activities and experiences within their departments. For some students, that may mean attending classroom lectures, observing work in medical labs and clinics or learning about the field of digital technology and how it touches all aspects of the university and beyond.

On Thursdays, scholars attend group interactive seminars at various campus locations. During the first seminar, held at Kelvin Smith Library, students discussed personal and career goals and were asked to identify their individual and collective strengths. In a future session at Thwing Center, students will learn about and discuss how culture—from language and food to wealth and spirituality—shapes a person’s view of the world. In addition, scholars will take field trips to other CWRU facilities, such as Squire Valleevue Farm, and cultural institutions in University Circle.

Sponsored by the Provost’s Office, each scholar received a special CWRU water bottle and book bag inscribed with the program name. As part of the program, each scholar is required to keep an activities log to track and measure his or her accomplishments. When the nine-week program is completed, the university will survey scholars and mentors to measure its success and help shape future Provost Scholar programs.

The university’s volunteer mentors are: Jakeba Webb of Information Technology Services; professors Mark Chupp and Mark Joseph of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences; Dennis Harris, director of National Youth Sports Program; Sharon Milligan, assistant dean of the Mandel School; James Bader, executive director of Gelfand STEM Center; Shannon French, executive director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics & Excellence; professor Faye Gary of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing; Vicken Totten, assistant professor and director of research of CWRU/UH Emergency Medical Residency Program; Irena Kennelly, assistant professor at school of nursing; James Lalumandier, chair of community dentistry at the School of Dental Medicine; and Elfreda Walter, assistant director of corporate relations. Bridget Chapman, academic coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs is the program manager of Provost Scholars and Marcia Harvey serves as the Provost Scholars ambassador.

For more information, contact Faye Gary at 216.368.5240 or