In Perspective is an ongoing series into the low graduation rates of students from IUSB, enrollment numbers and what the school is doing about the issues.
By: NEIL KING
College is a challenging experience — an experience which three quarters of IU South Bend students, according to a recent study, don’t complete within six years. The Titan Success Center is one of several projects that IU South Bend is working on to help improve that number and get students to graduation day.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Linda Chen is involved in the Titan Success Center. She feels that some of the need for the center stems from an idea that a college degree isn’t needed in a stable economy.
She said that the social perception is that college degrees aren’t worth as much in a strong economy because college degrees can be expensive, and there are good paying jobs available.
Chen argued against the notion that college degrees aren’t worth the money.
“Every year the Department of Labor and independent organizations show that a college degree enhances one’s income through the lifetime,” Chen said.
The hard part according to Chen is getting a student into their junior year. She said that once a student has put that much time into college, the likelihood of that student following through to graduation is increased greatly.
Hence, the Titan Success Center will focus on helping incoming students become comfortable with college life and give them a personal connection with the campus.
While the school is still in the planning stages of the center, Chen did say that there would be a focus from on creating a campus connection with students and rethinking the advising process with a more personal touch for students.
The main change of the advising process is the use of personal success coaches for each student. These success coaches would be assigned to a student to aid in orientation and more.
Chen says success coaches will help to make the process of student orientation more personal, helping students feel more comfortable.
A problem with the current system, according to Chen, is that student’s with questions or problems may feel intimidated by approaching a faculty member or an academic adviser.
In the new system there will be a guide set aside for students. Chen hopes this will create a better opportunity for students to ask for the help when dealing with issues like choosing majors, switching majors or even directing a student towards counseling.
“We haven’t gotten all the details out,” Chen said, “but hopefully within the next year we’ll have success coaches for all incoming students.”