By: Ashley Bergeron
On Nov 10, the Student Government Association had lunch with Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, the new vice president for student success across IU.
Assistant Vice Presidents for Student Success Yolanda Trevino, Philemon Yebei and Jim Kennedy also attended. Other administrators, including IU South Bend Dean of Student Life Monica Porter and Student Success Specialist Kate Golstein, also accompanied Payne-Kirchmeier.
Payne-Kirchmeier asked the student representatives a variety of questions about student success, including what is working, what isn’t working and where IU can go from here. Multiple students praised IU South Bend’s small class sizes, engaged faculty, opportunities for networking and academic resources.
The main concern that the student representatives discussed was academic advising. Many students have issues with advising, including knowing what classes they need to take and receiving detailed degree maps. Veterans and transfer students also struggle due to the transfer process. Overall, there was an agreement that there are issues with the consistency of advising that need to be fixed. Vice President Payne-Kirchmeier recognized this issue, and Dean Porter mentioned efforts to centralize advising.
SGA senators also raised concerns about online class fees; at IU South Bend, students are getting charged $50 per credit hour for each online class they are taking. Since many classes only have an online option, students discussed that it is unfair to levy these fees, especially when other IU campuses have eliminated distance fees.
Another point of discussion in the student success conversation was mental health. IU South Bend has seen an increase in counseling center utilization this semester due to a variety of factors discussed at the lunch, including financial stress, academic pressure and chronic overwhelm.
Vice President Payne-Kirchmeier said that while the university cannot tackle all of these issues at once, their primary focus going forward will be to help students get connected with resources they need.
If you want to send Vice President Payne-Kirchmeier a message with your comments and concerns about student success at IU South Bend, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.