Prof. Newman ensuring student success, leading by example

Being a college student can be stressful, especially for many first-generation students who have no prior experience with the collegiate world.

Often students must figure out how to navigate this life after high school while experiencing what could be their first phase of adulthood as well.

There are many students who attend Grambling state from different backgrounds who require a customized approach from professors when it comes to succeeding and gaining the information that they need to excel.

One educationl professional who understands and actively works to make the academic community aware of this need in higher education is Prof. Marjorie Newman. Newman is also undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Mass Communication at GSU.

As someone who plays an active role in college student lives each day, Newman believes there should be a theme in place that meets students where they are at in their college career and leading them down a path to success.

“I have learned to acknowledge and teach where students are when entering my class and allow them to understand what their goals are so I can encourage them as the college students they are,” she said. “I can’t force them to be where I want them to be.”

Newman has been educating college students since 2005 and has been a professor at Grambling since Fall 2016.

In addtion to teaching at an HBCU Newman is a product of one. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism Howard University in Washington, D.C. before getting her master’s degree in journalism at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Before attending college, she did not know what her academic journey would be like.

“I did not become a strong student until my junior year of college,” Newman said. “I was terrible at planning a career and knowing what I wanted. I did not have anyone to help me plan or the maturity to say, ‘This is who I am, this is what I want, and this is what I am going to do.’”

To Newman it is important for students to have that person who will provide appropriate guidance. She supports her students by relating to the understanding that there are ones who deal with reality outside of school.

“I owe that to my students…I know what it is like to not have money,” she said.

Newman said while her family prizes education that did not mean they were well off.

“My mom had two masters and my dad had a bachelor’s degree. We traveled, but we did not have money. I know what it is like to struggle and need extra help,” she said.

While she knew the struggle, she made sure that she did not let it stop her and got her priorities straight. Her advice for helping students to ground themselves in college is to start identifying what they want to do in life as a career.

“If you do not know what you want to do with your future start to eliminate the things that you do not want to do, because it’s just as good to know what you want to do as well as what you don’t want to do,” she said.

This has helped her in pursuing a career that she loves and embedded the motivation to never stop trying in life. Newman is currently working to obtain her doctorate in education.

Now that she has been working among students to help them achieve their goals, she now wants to be on the leadership side.

“I want to change things to be more student centered than faculty centered, and I noticed that it does not happen at the professor level. It must happen at a higher level,” Newman said.