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The First-Year Success Center is Here to Help!

Isaak Kifle

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Despite orientation and the various programs made available to students at the university, many students want an additional

The First-Year Success Center, located in Maxcy Hall Suite 106, directly underneath the Office of Academic Services, was established to provide additional academic, social, and personal support through programming, student success coaching, first-year mentors, and the First-Year Call Center. Felecia Edwards, the director of the center, explains that the university decided to take an approach “more proactive than reactive” by creating the center to foster the academic growth of students and connect them to faculty, staff, and university resources that can support their success.

resource to aid in their transition to college. Whether this involves having a mentor to serve as an additional source of support, receiving some coaching on how to manage yourself in college, a few additional programs to attend when not in class, or even just having a place to do homework in between classes, many students take these small things into consideration when evaluating how satisfying their overall experience at UNH is. To ensure that those additional resources are provided, the First-Year Success Center was created.

The First-Year Success Center, located in Maxcy Hall Suite 106, directly underneath the Office of Academic Services, was established to provide additional academic, social, and personal support through programming, student success coaching, first-year mentors, and the First-Year Call Center. Felecia Edwards, the director of the center, explains that the university decided to take an approach “more proactive than reactive” by creating the center to foster the academic growth of students and connect them to faculty, staff, and university resources that can support their success. It began with Edwards for the fall 2010 semester, until Aschlee Cole joined at the end of September as a Student Success Coach, who also runs many of the programs put on by the center. From there, the First-Year Success Center began working with faculty from different departments and bringing UNH students to the team.

Student Success Coaching consists of a series of personalized one-on-one meetings tailored to the needs of the student, which could include time management, goal setting, connecting with professors, and other topics relevant to the student. The First-Year Call Center helps create a more welcoming environment for new students by having student call center representatives contact them twice a semester, provide information regarding upcoming events, and answer any questions and concerns they may have.

The First-Year Mentor Program pairs first-year students with upperclassmen mentors that serve as an additional source of support and information to help in the ongoing college transition process. Most recently, a student advisory committee was established to help suggest new ideas for programming and services, as well as how to improve existing ones. As for programs, Acshlee Cole notes that, while there wasn’t much done in the fall semester as a result of the center just being established, they have started the spring 2011 semester “with a bang,” and have already held many programs in February and March, with more coming in April.

Although the First-Year Success Center’s “family,” consisting of staff and frequent visitors is still growing, feedback from all sides is positive. Mohammed Vahora, a freshman who utilizes the center as a study space, says he’s had an overall great experience thanks to the small and cozy space and personal and friendly staff; “it makes you feel like you’re at home.”

Upperclassmen Cassie Elefante, who works as a call center representative, enjoys the experience of talking to students and being a “resource to students who may not be comfortable elsewhere.” Diane Russo of the English Department explains that the center is a “tremendous opportunity for faculty to help students” by referring them when they don’t have all the resources the students need, in addition to being a place where students may be more willing to discuss their problems as they may sometimes be hesitant to speak with their professors.

Still, Felecia Edwards wants to expand and ensure that everyone is aware of the First-Year Success Center and the services it offers. To date, they have already worked and co-sponsored programs with the Center for Career Development, the Office of Financial Aid, the Education and Biology Departments, the Office of Residential Life, the Office of Student Activities, and Visit New Haven and the City of West Haven. They are, however, eager to work with any additional offices and departments and even student organizations that are interested. She also wants to clear up some existing misconceptions about the center, such as that all of its services are exclusively for first-year students: “we never turn anyone away.”

1 Comment

One Response to “The First-Year Success Center is Here to Help!”

  1. Gil Rogers on March 23rd, 2011 4:58 pm

    What a great resource for our first year students and beyond! Felecia Edwards was an amazing Admissions Counselor … and she is bringing that passion to the current students side of the house with a drive that is un-matched by most at UNH. Keep up the good work!!!

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The First-Year Success Center is Here to Help!