Student Success Centre

A sneak peek at the new Student Success Centre visual identityAugust 12, 2014

Gearing up for the academic year, the Student Success Centre is buzzing with energy. Looking at the lineup of orientation presentations and workshops that will begin soon, it is clear how excited they are to welcome new and returning U of A students. We asked the team, what makes all of this preparation worthwhile?

“When students’ hard work comes together, something ‘clicks’ – you can see it in their eyes, feel their excitement,” says Mebbie Bell. Moments like that are what the team strives for.

In the midst of this busy time, they are also thinking about the advice they will be giving to students this year. “Less is more” and “start early and review often” are some of the phrases that students will hear from the team. However, with students coming from all levels and programs at the U of A — each with individual academic goals — their advice is often personalized to each student. While most of their time is committed to workshops and consultations, the Student Success Centre team works with other areas of the University to support students.The Student Success Centre team provides a variety of academic workshops and individual student consultations focusing on communication, writing, studying, and exam strategies. They also work with students who have failed their first or second year of studies with the Fresh Start program, providing students with resources and support to improve their academic standing. Included under the Success Centre umbrella as well are Math and Applied Sciences (MASC) and Specialized Support and Disability Services (SSDS).

The Centre partners with U of A athletics with the programs Brains and Brawn Boot Camp and Study Hall for Bears football, which have had a positive impact upon players’ academic standing — 100% of those who participated in the full program are returning to school and football this fall. SSC Director Wendy Doughty, along with Mebbie Bell, and Tristan Donald were recognized by Bears football for their dedication and support to U of A student athletes, at a time when most Canadian inter-university sport programs lose 5-10 participants each year due to academic issues.

In addition to this recognition, SSC Associate Director Stephen Kuntz received the University’s 2013 Excellence in Learning Support Award for his outstanding contributions to student learning. Stephen has also created innovative program planning with his insightful approaches to helping students improve their writing. For him, the most fulfilling part about working with U of A students is “seeing the ‘light go on’ in a student and having them gain confidence in their abilities."

Just as university involvement is important to the Student Success Centre team, so is involvement within the Edmonton community. Wendy volunteers with the Terra Centre for Parenting Teens, using her knowledge of communications to help teen moms develop public speaking skills as they share their stories at public events. Mebbie currently volunteers at the Stollery Hospital, and has worked with many community organizations as a Community Service Learning instructor. 

For university student services looking to get involved with the SSC, the team suggests that the best way is to share their resources and posters in your office and include information about their services in orientation staff training. If you are helping students with academic challenges, and you’re not sure — refer! They are happy to help students figure out what will best address their academic questions and goals.

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By Keanna Krawiec