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
  • Completed SSC evaluation and assessment in 2018, resulting in the following action plan.

A student sits with a professor with open books and notebooks

Starting Strong

Quality Enhancement Plan supports academic advising

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.