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Chesapeake College focusing on student success

Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004


Staff members of Chesapeake College’s newly named Division of Student Success and Enrollment Services say their name defines their mission.

"Our mission is to help students succeed. We needed a name that forcefully reflected that mission," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Chesapeake’s vice president for the division, which was previously known as Enrollment Management and Student Services. "It reminds both our students and our staff the reason we’re here in the first place."

Counselor Joan Seitzer, who coordinates the division’s retention services, said the new name should also encourage positive thinking among Chesapeake’s students, many of whom are first-generation college students who start college apprehensively.

"We want students focusing from the moment they walk through our doors on the fact that they can succeed at Chesapeake," said Seitzer.

Midcap said the new name was only one of numerous initiatives that resulted from a divisional review undertaken this summer by a six-member Student Services Advising Council. Some of the more far-reaching changes – the development of an online advising option, creation of an Advising Center, and complete redesign of the division’s web pages to better serve students – will debut Wednesday along with the name change.

Representatives of Chesapeake College’s Student Government Association, who previewed the new services, said the changes would benefit students.

"The new web page looks nice and it’s very functional," said Preston resident Kira Shorts, the SGA’s public relations officer. "And I like the idea of an Advising Center where you can go to get everything you need in one place, and an online advising option for people who can’t get to campus."

The Advising Center, located in D106 of the Dorchester Administration Building, features both online and hard-copy resources that students can use – either on their own or with the assistance of Advising Center staff – to plot out their future.

"We wanted to create a physical space on campus where students can work with advisors and learn the skills they need to conduct their own academic planning," said Counselor Jim Davidson, who will oversee the Advising Center.

Davidson said students who come to the Advising Center can receive assistance in developing long-term academic plans that will allow a student to earn an associate degree, transfer to a four-year college or university, upgrade skills for a current position, or learn skills for a new career field.

The Advising Center – which has Open Houses scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 28th and 5:30-6:30 p.m. on November 8th – will also be the site for ongoing workshops and seminars. There are nearly a dozen workshops and seminars planned for the center’s first three weeks of operation, according to Davidson.

"We want to get students accustomed to coming here on a regular basis," he said.

While the Advising Center is directed at students who come to the Wye Mills campus, the rollout of online advising services is meant for those students who can’t make it to the main campus on a regular basis, according to Counselor Amy Childs.

"Our service region covers over 20 percent of the state’s land mass, but only two percent of its population," said Childs. "We felt we needed an online advising option so that students who couldn’t come to campus had the same access to advising services as those who can make it to Wye Mills."

Childs will initially serve as the "gatekeeper" for students’ online advising inquiries. She will either answer advising questions directly, or forward the inquiry to the appropriate person. Next spring, when the online advising system is completely rolled out, students will be able to send their online inquiries directly to specific Student Success offices – career planning, transfer advising, financial aid, registration, etc.

The Student Success and Enrollment Services homepage will also debut October 28th, said Midcap, who indicated College Webmaster Marjorie MacDonald has been instrumental in all the online improvements that are being rolled out by the college.

"We came to the conclusion that our area’s web pages needed better organization and that people needed to be able to navigate through them more easily," said Midcap. "Marjorie has done a great job working with us to improve these aspects of our pages."

Midcap said the Advising Center, online advising, and other online improvements are "works in progress."

"We’re ready to debut these new features, but we know we’re not done," said Midcap. "We need to constantly look for ways to improve how we deliver our services if we’re going to help our students succeed."


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please send correction or comments to: Marcie Molloy