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Center for Student Success to be Established

CSS Services
  • Student advocacy
  • An early warning system for students in trouble
  • Walk-in services
  • Centralized information on learning support
  • Advice on and connection to student involvement opportunities
  • Drop-in tutoring
  • Connection to personal support services

Research and Assessment

- Marrlee Burgess, Director of First Year Center and Student Transition with Horace Smith, AVP-Student Support Services

In the Fall Semester of 2009, Kevin Worthen and Sara Varhus convened the Student Success Team (SST), an interdivisional group of faculty and staff, to strategically address and lay the foundation for student success initiatives that would have lasting impact on Nazareth College. After a year of analyzing and discussing research and institutional data, the SST identified three working sub-teams to focus on areas of institutional practice that support undergraduate student success. The charges given to these three teams included:

  1. A review of academic support structures
  2. Upper class and transfer student retention
  3. A review of High Impact Practices at Nazareth College

Each sub-team investigated its assigned charge and in Fall 2011, submitted their findings to the SST. After reviewing and prioritizing the recommendations from these reports, the SST concluded that integration of services and coordination of resources were among the most pervasive themes found in these recommendations.

Resulting from this feedback, as well as our understanding of best practices, it was determined that the establishment of a Center for Student Success (CSS) would be the most impactful way to respond to these themes. 

CSS Goals and Services

By integrating staff and services, coordinating and augmenting existing support services for first year, transfer and upper class students, and using a holistic approach to student development, Nazareth College would be able to respond specifically to undergraduate success by providing the following services through the CSS: student advocacy, an early warning system for students in trouble, walk-in services, centralized information on learning support, advice on and connection to student involvement opportunities, drop-in tutoring, and connection to personal support services.

While retention improvement will be a valued outcome of these activities, the true measure of student success is how well students are developing intellectually and socially, with a sense of self-reliance and responsibility to community. While these concepts are not new to Nazareth College, what is new will be the enhanced and formal relationship established between the Divisions of Student Development and Academic Affairs.

These divisions will work together to serve and support the needs of students both in and outside of the classroom through the CSS. Not only will this address student needs more effectively, it is expected that it will become a main vehicle for meeting Nazareth's strategic commitment to student success. It is also anticipated that other interdivisional initiatives will be implemented through the CSS, such as: success coaching for at-risk first year students, Summer Start and the Academic and College Success course (ACS 101).

Our work on this new model for student success will begin this Spring 2012 by establishing the CSS. Marrlee Burgess has been appointed Director of the CSS who, in addition to her responsibilities associated with the first year, will be responsible for the broader coordination of the campus community as it responds to student success. While the mission and services of the First Year Center will be continued, it should be noted that these will be continued within the new CSS, to be located on the ground floor of  Smyth Hall.

The Future of CSS

As we look towards academic year 2012-2013, efforts are already underway to address graduate student needs. A process similar to the one implemented for undergraduate success will be executed and it is our expectation that graduate student needs will be identified and, in the future, addressed through the CSS. This is an exciting time for the College and we look forward to keeping the Nazareth community updated as progress is made in Spring 2012.

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