From Admission to Graduation: The Center for Student Success

This year, the new Center for Student Success (CSS) started to implement some changes within the program. CSS will now be home for Siena Heights professional advisors. The goal is to have every enrolled Siena student paired with one professional advisor, from admission to graduation. The student will be with that professional advisor throughout their entire SHU career, regardless if they decide to change majors.

Dr. Matthew Draud, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “I have learned that many colleges and universities are beginning to understand the value in students having a permanent advisor who remains with them from day one all the way to graduation. The opportunity to develop a close one-on-one relationship is very important to their success. We feel like the dual advisement model with a professional advisor and a faculty mentor will meet our student’s needs very well.”

This year, the advisors are mainly working with the current freshmen, but next year they will advise both new freshmen and sophomores, Draud said. The next year they will advise freshmen, sophomores and juniors, and the following year every single student will be assigned to a professional advisor.

Not only will students be paired with a professional advisor, but they will also be paired with a faculty mentor as well. Draud said the faculty mentor will meet with the student as much as needed to discuss career goals and how to achieve those goals. The mentors are specific to majors, and will help with experiential learning opportunities, and learning support conversations. If a student changes majors, they will be placed with a new faculty mentor, he added.

Draud said there are currently 10 advisors total in the CSS, and each attends weekly training sessions along with professional development, so that they are able to advise students in all majors. Different advisors have different caseloads because each professional advisor also has other duties within the CSS. Some work for Siena’s First Year Experience program; others coordinate learning support programs across campus, according to Draud.

CSS is also currently bringing on a software platform called the Student Success Management System, which will include a mobile app for each student. Draud said this software will allow for better and more timely communication between students and their advisors.