Thursday Feb 27, 2014
Beginning with the Spring 2014 semester, Indiana University Northwest welcomed two academic success advisors to its staff.
These newly created positions are an innovative way to support students and ultimately, improve retention, said Cathy Hall, director of Academic Success and Achievement.
“We examined how other campuses supported students and we like the idea of having a mentor, kind of a success coach, for students,” Hall said. “Someone who is not a peer, but a professional who can help students become more successful and confident.”
The success advisors serve as a complement to course advising. They are there to listen to students’ concerns one-on-one, help them set goals, introduce them to other campus resources and generally guide them in navigating the college experience.
The advisors, Elizabeth LaDuke and Cynthia Robles, maintain offices on the second floor of Hawthorn Hall. They will meet with any student by appointment and walk-ins are welcome.
LaDuke is a recent IU Northwest graduate herself. An English major, she served as the head consultant in the Writing Lab and worked in the admissions office and as a supplemental instructor.
“Being a student here, I learned so much about how the campus works,” LaDuke said. “So many people helped me grow as a student and a person. I’m really excited about the opportunity to help others.”
Cynthia Robles, is both a recent graduate and a former employee of Purdue University Calumet. A psychology major, she worked with students in the Offices of the Registrar and Financial Aid.
“I have a passion for higher education and I love working with students,” Robles said. “We’ve reached out to a lot of students already. We are building solid relationships. We are becoming familiar with what type of students are at IU Northwest and what type of help they need.”
Hall said that many of IU Northwest’s students are first-generation college students. As such, they often don’t have the knowledge and support at home to help them decode the college experience. Whether it’s walking a student to another office, inviting them to a skills workshop, or simply advising them about how to persevere through college in the midst of other obligations, the advisors are here to guide students toward success.
“Research says that the more connections a student has on a campus, the more likely they are going to stay enrolled,” Hall explained. “The academic success advisors add another layer to students’ support network. They can provide a level of support to those students who aren’t as involved in clubs, for instance, or who don’t make connections with people as readily as others.”
“Our goal is to have students leave the academic success advisors’ offices knowing IU Northwest cares about them,” Hall said.