4A: Improve undergraduate academic advising and student support

The Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) will lead an initiative to revamp the advising process to include conversations about students’ current and future goals – academic, professional, and personal. While these conversations certainly occur in some advising interactions, they are not as universal as they should be. Effective advising enhances student learning, promotes professional development and a healthy work-life balance, and strengthens student retention.

The a partnership, the VPAA and Vice President for Student Life (VPSL) will coordinate our varied student support services – which are currently distributed across upper and lower campus – beneath a new initiative called the Student Success Center. The Center will organize forms of academic support, such as peer tutoring and writing assistance, with resources for social support, such as workshops on time management, handling stress, and sustaining healthy interpersonal relationships.

  • The Student Success Center (SSC) encompasses multiple offices across campus. The SSC's holistic approach helps students identify roadblocks to academic and personal success, while ensuring all students have access to comprehensive services. Affiliated offices include: Counseling Services, Health Services, Student Accessibility Services, Wellness Services, and the Writing Center.
  • Established SSC mission statement, policies, procedures, and campus partnerships
  • Supported the implementation of Pathways by supporting the First-Year Experience
  • “Starting Strong: Intentional Strategies for Improving First Year Student Success” selected as the campus’ next Quality Enhancement Plan
  • Planning for upcoming SSC evaluation and assessment in 2017

A student sits with a professor with open books and notebooks

Starting Strong

Quality Enhancement Plan supports academic advising

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), or “Starting Strong,” aims to help Trinity students succeed in their early college years. The QEP is a required component of Trinity’s reaffirmation of accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Elements of the plan include administering early, low-stakes graded assignments, developing a summer bridge class related to quantitative skills, improving advisor training, and pilot testing more summer registration for fall classes.

Political science professor John Hermann chairs the Trinity QEP Development Team. He says that this QEP is designed to get first-year students to start thinking intentionally and early about the requirements and courses they will need to satisfy before graduation.

"We will have five years to implement this QEP, and we want to implement it in stages so that we will be able to assess it,” says Hermann. “We will create surveys and other measurement tools sensitive enough to assess the QEP during implementation."