The new Student Success Teams at A&M-Commerce are an innovative idea that promises to transform the student experience. The model is the first of its kind at a Texas university.
A Student Success Team consists of an academic advisor, a financial aid advisor and an academic concierge who collaborate to help a group of students meet their educational goals.
According to the new model, which was implemented in spring 2020, each A&M-Commerce undergraduate student is assigned to a Student Success Team within their college when they register for classes. Students remain with the same team from the first class day until graduation day. As a result, they are able to establish long-term relationships with their team members as they reach out for advice and support throughout their academic journeys.
Additionally, Success Team staff members have offices together or near each other, so students no longer have to travel across campus in search of help. Instead, their team is accessible and available.
According to Kristina Nichols, director of advising, “A student will get everything taken care of when they enter our office, from registration, resources and managing finances. This will help the students get everything they need in one location and ensure their needs are met the first time.”
Success Team staff also consistently reach out to students who may need extra support, including those on academic probation or academic suspension, to identify and provide helpful resources.
Each member of the team plays a unique role in a student's success. According to Katrina Watkins, director of academic concierge at A&M-Commerce, most students understand the role of their academic and financial aid advisors, but many are still unfamiliar with the role of their academic concierge.
Concierges are new on the scene at A&M-Commerce, but they play a crucial role in students' success. As a member of the Student Success Team, an academic concierge helps students identify obstacles to their success and connect them to needed resources.
“Our main goal is student success by identifying and resolving barriers,” Watkins said.
She added that students face a plethora of challenges that affect their classroom performance–from financial problems to relationship conflicts. Academic concierges help connect students to appropriate resources so they can overcome those challenges.
According to Judy Sackfield, vice president for student success and interim dean of students, the fact that each student has their own Success Team is extremely impactful because it provides students with the support they need to meet their academic goals.
“We want to wrap our arms around our students and walk them through the transitions they will make on their academic and career journey,” Sackfield said. “By creating a Success Team unit, I would like to think we are creating a place where students feel comfortable to go, where their needs are met, and where they can establish professional relationships.”