In 2017, New England College made a decision to create a “Student Success Center.” However, it was not until NEC received a five-year, $2.23 million Title III Department of Education grant in 2018 that the vision turned to specific plans.
A student success center is a physical place on campus where students will receive academic support, tutoring from peers and professionals, and most importantly, life planning skills.
Chelsea Hanrahan, Director of the Library, and Robyn Hudson, Associate Dean of Academic Success and Retention, have been vigorously working to get this center up and running. Their goal is to have the physical center ready by sometime in the next academic year, preferably the fall semester. The physical student success center might not be fully “built” but the resources will still be available to incoming first-year students, and also current students.
Student planning begins early on in their academic career, and thus when students attend orientation, they will meet with a “coach” who will help them create their own personal student success plan. They will discuss their vision for their next four years, and what they want from attending New England College. They will discuss all the possible majors and minors they can study, and plan what classes they will take and when. The coach is there to help the student determine long-term career goals, and put them on a path to be successful.
Coaches will also try to get more students involved with school activities and clubs. Since the meetings are more personal, the coach can get a better understanding for student interests, and help find the best path for them to develop as a whole person, not just in academics. This will get more students signed up for co-curricular activities, while also helping out clubs, especially those that are less well known.
Due to the new resources that will be available from the center, the “Bridges” program, required for all first-year students, will be redesigned to focus more on academic skill building and orienting students toward what it really means to be a college student. The center will also be offering Bridges-like classes, which might include a “tutoring course” where the student could potentially earn credits. The mission of the center is to find out what goals the students want to achieve, and the coaches are there to put them on the right path to meet those goals.
“It is really exciting and a real opportunity for students to be able to explore their career goals,” said Hanrahan. “College is truly one of the only times you have complete freedom to explore and find out what you love. This gives students the chance to really explore their interests, and have the benefit of professionals to help enhance that experience.”