Students discover ‘a door opened’ by Student Support and Retention
Students discover ‘a door opened’ by Student Support and RetentionAugust 25, 2003Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s Division of Student Support and Retention has set out to change SU according to one driving principle: every SU student should earn a degree through a fulfilling and enriching University experience. Since its formation in 1997, the division’s impact has been unmistakable: the involvement of staff members and thousands of students have helped raise the University’s six-year cumulative graduation rate to nearly an all-time high of 80 percent for students graduating in May 2002.
“We embrace our charge to support all students at Syracuse University,” says Horace H. Smith, associate vice president of undergraduate studies and retention. “With that charge-and its priority within the Academic Plan-comes a richness of resources, including instructional support services that enhance the learning environment for all students, programs and services that focus on the special needs of specific student populations, and assessment activities, through the Center for Retention Studies, that monitor the University’s plan to improve every student’s potential to graduate.”
For students, that richness of resources is an aid to forging high-quality connections within the University-the kinds of connections that are key to student persistence.
“I met all kinds of people I needed to meet,” says Andy Alcindor ’03, a past participant of the division’s Student SUccess Initiative (SSUI). “Once I was introduced to the program, it was like the door opened right then.” A first-generation college student who was faced with disappointing grades and no clear direction for his studies, Alcindor considered dropping out of SU early in his college career, but went on to earn Dean’s List honors and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information studies. He says those accomplishments couldn’t have happened without his active participation in SSUI.
Alcindor admits that one of his greatest obstacles was lack of awareness about Student Support and Retention’s service to all kinds of students. “It’s a huge resource, but I didn’t know a lot of people that were taking advantage of the program,” he says. “But then I got involved, and I learned right away that it’s good to ask for help and it’s good to ask for support. The people who worked with me were in position to keep me on my toes, and I recommend them to any other student who is in the same shoes.”
According to Smith, versatility makes Student Support and Retention a student’s go-to resource. “It is our goal to partner with our colleagues across the University to create an environment where students can learn, grow, make connections, and feel a keen sense of satisfaction,” he says.
For more information on the Division of Student Support and Retention, visit http://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/ or call 443-4181.
Several Student Support and Retention programs are open to students during the Fall 2003 semester. They include:
Collegiate Science and Technology Entry ProgramLarry Thomas, associate directorhttp://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/cstep/cstep.htm443-2622The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), jointly sponsored by SU and the New York State Education Department, is designed to reinvent scholarship for students preparing for careers in scientific, technical or health-related fields. The program features strong individualized student contact and support, including academic monitoring. Students may join CSTEP at any time during their college careers, including graduate school.
Learning Resource CenterJane Neuburger, directorhttp://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/lsc/index.htm443-2005Some new and returning students can benefit from advice on meeting professors’ expectations and earning better grades. Many students rely on the Learning Resource Center (LRC), where graduate and undergraduate students work one-on-one or in small groups with other students who have demonstrated success in the same classes. Students who have used the LRC comment that it helps them earn higher grades and better understand the course material.
Office of Disability Services Steve Simon, interim directorhttp://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/dserv/index.htm443-4498During each academic year SU serves more than 750 students with physical, sensory, psychological, attentional or learning disabilities, ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students through the Office of Disability Services. The office exists to help students who have documented disabilities, with support for academic access within and outside of the classroom and access to all aspects of university life. Students should note that all information is treated confidentially.
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Programhttp://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/mcnair/Anthony Robinson, director443-2622Serving students who wish to expand their educational opportunities and pursue graduate studies and careers in academe, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program helps eligible sophomore and junior students prepare for admission to graduate school.
Student SUccess InitiativeStephanie Reynolds, directorhttp://sumweb.syr.edu/ssr/ssui/index.htm443-1095The Student SUccess Initiative (SSUI) helps students from a variety of backgrounds develop skills and strategies to make the academic experience more productive and satisfying. Through its summertime program (open to eligible students only) and residential learning community (open to all students), SSUI gives students personal coaching and study support along with an increased sense of connection with other students on the same success-oriented path.