No gaps in student success with new center

The maze between student services offices on campus is no longer after the move to the new Student Success Center, located in a central spot on campus, began Feb. 15.

“Before offices were scattered all over the campus and for those who live and work here it’s second nature, but that’s not so for many students,” Pat Moynahan, vice provost of University Programs, said.

The need for a centralized location was indicative from a multitude of surveys conducted. According to Moynahan, Huron Consultants came in to look at the efficiency of NKU operations and administrative services. At the same time the Foundations of Excellence survey was being conducted by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. They consider all things regarding first-year students.

“We were more concerned with areas that we could be stronger in and see if our perception and the perception of students matched,” Moynahan said. “If we believe they are doing a good job, do students think they’re doing a good job?”

A nationwide student survey known as Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BECSSE) was given, as well as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). NKU was then able to compare findings with Kentucky state schools and national results.

According to the Mean Comparisons report provided by NSSE, in August 2012, the overall quality of academic advising satisfaction for first-year students at NKU was rated higher than seniors at the university. Although seniors were less satisfied, NKU was close to the national average for both first years and seniors.

For first-year students NKU was lagging behind its comparison group for overall satisfaction on the entire educational experience. Seniors, who ranked higher than first-year students, were close to the national average. When asked if they would attend the same university again seniors were lagging when compared nationally.

Moynahan said the mission statement of the success center is to, “create the streamline and seamless delivery of services that empowers students to be successful.”

His expectation is there won’t be any gaps because students will get to the right place that can solve the problem the first time. He said that students not knowing where to get the right services was of large concern.

“The success center is a starting place, all in one place, to empower students to be successful and teach students how to take the initiative,” Moynahan said. “I grew up in an era where the expectation was that you would take responsibility and stand on your own two feet when you went to college, whether it was right or wrong mom and dad pushed you out of the nest and let you fly, but the education system was geared that way as well so you learned to do that on your own. Society and culture have changed; I’m not saying students are any less capable.”

The center will be geared more toward the needs of students.

“Our role is really to teach them how and where to connect to the services they need so they can eventually do this independently,” Shawn Rainey, associate director for curriculum, said. “Many of NKU’s students are first generation college students so their parents  may not know how to help them with the process and the bureaucracy of higher education so advising takes on an added importance to these students.”

Rainey’s office is one of many now located in the University Center. The soft opening of the Student Success Center will occur April 22.

“I believe we will be better able to ensure connections for students that will foster their success and we will be more proactive in following up to ensure they received the help they needed. Overall, I believe we have a dynamic opportunity to help students succeed at a greater rate,” Rainey said.