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.
This past year, the University launched its Quality Enhancement Plan, called Starting Strong, as part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The QEP aims to enhance the first-year student experience.
The QEP focuses on three parts of first-year academic success: advising, teaching, and academic support resources. The program refines and expands the training offered to new and experienced first-year advisers, and a new advising coordinator will spearhead adviser training and implement best practices throughout the first-year advising process. Introductory-level teaching incorporates early-alert strategies to identify first-year students who will benefit from timely intervention. Trinity will also bolster academic support services, particularly in STEM fields (where difficulties are often encountered by first-year students). A second, new professional staff position, the quantitative reasoning and skills director, will oversee STEM academic support systems, including supplementary instruction and in-person tutoring.
In the spring, the QEP was found by the SACSCOC reviewers to be in compliance with all relevant standards, with final action to be taken in the commission’s winter meeting.