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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Plus IconHow am I billed for EMPOWER?

Fees for enrolling in EMPOWER are billed through Student Financial Services and added to the Student Account around the third week of the semester or the week of enrollment. Please note, EMPOWER fees are non-refundable. Sessions offer flexibility of entry up to the end of the 13th week of the term for a prorated amount. In the case of voluntary or involuntary leave or withdrawal from RIT a refund may be made in accordance with Institute policy.

FAQ Plus IconWho are EMPOWER mentors?

EMPOWER mentors are adjunct professionals who work for the Academic Support Center at RIT. Each EMPOWER mentor has a Master’s degree in Higher Education, Counseling or a related field. They also have at least 1-3 years of experience working with college age students and a familiarity with supporting the academic needs and development of a diverse student population. EMPOWER mentors commonly have a case load of 10 -15 students.

FAQ Plus IconWhat happens after the on-line enrollment form is completed?

EMPOWER works to connect enrolled students with his or her assigned mentor as quickly as possible. If your student is new to EMPOWER, his or her initial appointment will be with the coordinator of the service for an intake appointment. During this appointment the student and coordinator will discuss the student’s academic history, areas of strength and challenge and develop concrete goals for the semester. The coordinator will assign the student to a mentor based on best fit and mentor availability. If your student is returning to EMPOWER, they will set goals for the semester with his or her mentor at the first meeting.

FAQ Plus IconWhat happens during weekly EMPOWER meetings?

Though each meeting is different based on student needs and the timing in the semester, in general the mentor will cover the following items during his or her meeting:

  • The student’s progress in each course: did they attend? What grades, if any, did they get back? Did they submit assignments that were due?
  • How the student spends his or her time the past week: Did they follow the plan made at the previous meeting? Did they accomplish the tasks they needed to? Did they make progress on larger projects or behavioral goals they set?
  • Planning for the upcoming week: What is coming due? What assignments or tasks need to take priority? What tests or long term projects are coming up? How can they break down the larger tasks and plan appropriately to accomplish them in a reasonable timeline? Setting specific times to accomplish the week’s work (and allocate free time).
FAQ Plus IconHow is a student’s progress and performance in his/her classes tracked?

EMPOWER works to support students in tracking his or her own progress and encouraging the self-advocacy that is at the heart of the service’s philosophy. EMPOWER mentors do not have access to a professor’s attendance or grade records for classes. Mentors rely on the student to honestly report his or her attendance as well as grades on assignments, tests and quizzes. When available, a mentor and a student may log on to myCourses, RIT’s course management software, to view the student’s progress in a particular course. However, this is not always available since posting grades on myCourses is up to each individual professor. The feedback process and timing is highly variable based on the preferences of each professor. The mentor works with the student to ensure that the student is regularly tracking his or her progress in the course based on concrete feedback from professors.

FAQ Plus IconI am a parent/guardian. Will I receive information about how my student is doing during the course of the semester?

Though the student is regularly encouraged to communicate with his/her professors, the mid-semester review provides a more intentional opportunity for assessment and reflection. As a first part of the process the mentor and the student will review his or her current grades. Where there are missing portions of that information (i.e. the grades aren’t posted on myCourses or the student is unsure of the grades they’ve received) the student will e-mail the professors requesting updated feedback on his or her progress to date. In addition, the mentor and student will have a conversation regarding the goals set at the beginning of the semester, whether or not they remain appropriate, and what, if any, changes need to be made in order for the student to be successful. Once the student has a summary of his or her progress, they will work with the mentor to communicate his or her progress and plans for the remainder of the semester with the parents and academic department if appropriate.

FAQ Plus Icon Who can I talk to if I have information or questions about my student?

Please note that we are only able to communicate with parents or guardians if the student has signed our Program Release form, granting us permission to openly discuss information regarding his or her participation in EMPOWER.
If you have specific information about your student that you think would be helpful, the best primary contact is the EMPOWER e-mail address, . Your message will be forwarded to your student’s mentor, who may contact you for further details if needed. If you have the contact information for your student’s mentor, it is recommend that you contact them via e-mail. This is the most efficient way to reach them since his or her schedules may vary and they are adjunct employees who are not in the office every day.
If you have questions regarding your student’s progress, we recommend first discussing your concerns with your student. If after talking with your student, you still feel you need more information, you can contact the mentor (via e-mail, as described above) in order to encourage a more open dialogue between you and your student.
If you have an immediate concern about your student’s health or safety and/or it is after business hours, please contact RIT Public Safety’s emergency number at (585)475-3333.

FAQ Plus IconI am a parent/guardian. When can I expect to hear from my student’s mentor?

Because we work to encourage self-advocacy and academic independence in our students, we typically encourage direct communication between parents/guardians and students. However, if the student has signed a release form, there are a few situations when the mentor or EMPOWER coordinator will commonly contact the student’s designated guardian(s). If a student misses 2-4 appointments without explanation, shows signs of extreme academic distress or we are concerned about that student’s safety, we may contact his or her parents/guardians as well as other campus resources. Ultimately the goal is to work together: students, parents and RIT support services, to make the best decision for the student and his or her long-term success and wellness.

FAQ Plus IconCan the student change enrollment levels in the middle of the semester?

A student can increase his or her enrollment level at any time in the term at a prorated rate. If his or her current mentor is not available to increase his or her appointment hours, an increase in enrollment level may mean they have to change mentors. Any decrease in enrollment level will follow the Institute Refund Policy.