Nov. 13, 2018
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—What does a college dedicated to education and human development do when they want to see their students succeed? They open a Student Success Center and staff it with people who are passionate about student success.
“Our students matter. Their success in life—not just in academics—is important,” says SSC director and College of Education and Human Development alumna Melissa Holman (M.A. ‘10, Educational Leadership: Higher Education and Student Affairs).
The SSC partners with students to help them succeed. “We pride ourselves in focusing on the whole student and providing students with needed supports to promote holistic well-being,” explains student success coach Precious Miller (M.S.W. '12). Two full-time employees and three graduate assistants make up the Student Success team that runs the center, which includes a multipurpose space for students.
“As a doctoral-level counselor trainee, I am very interested in the emotional health and well-being of my students as I believe mental health stability fosters academic, social, emotional, and physical health success,” explains student success coach Dawnielle Simmons (student, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology).
The team utilizes a tiered intervention strategy that allows their team to work with students in a targeted way. Every undergraduate CEHD student has contact with at least one person on the Student Success Center team each semester they are enrolled through either email, face-to-face meetings, text messages, phone calls, video chat or by attending center events. Further support is provided to those who need it.
Examples of the supports the center provides are one-on-one success coaching, the Students Excelling in Education and Development mentoring program, the Multicultural Meet and Greet, CliftonStrengths coaching, life skills workshops, an academic discovery course, student mixers, and coordination with the university's residential learning communities in both education and human performance. The team assists with enrollment and eliminating barriers to continuing education and also provides resources for CEHD faculty and staff who are working intensively to support students.
“I want the students to know I am here for them whether it is for resources around campus or just to talk,” explains student success coach Sean Diaz (student, M.A. Educational Leadership: Higher Education Student Affairs). “I want to assure students they are not alone in this challenging time of their lives and I want to help them in any way possible.”
Members of the team meet students where they are, literally. Some of their interventions have included accompanying students to class, various offices on campus, hospitals and clinics, and even family events. Since its inception in 2015, student success coaches have met face-to-face with over 600 students.
Current workshop offerings include: time management, metacognitive learning strategies, emotional wellness, and physical and social support. The SSC events webpage provides details and the most up to date information about upcoming events.