President Kassing, Provost Selter and students cut the ribbon at the CASA Student Success Center grand opening Feb. 2.

CASA Opens Student Success Center

President Kassing, Provost Selter and students cut the ribbon at the CASA Student Success Center grand opening Feb. 2.

President Don Kassing, Provost Gerry Selter and students cut the ribbon at the CASA Student Success Center grand opening Feb. 2.

The SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts opened a Student Success Center Feb. 2, with the goal of helping students access the university’s many resources.

“The center will help new students get connected with the college and the university,” said Charles Bullock, dean of the college. “In particular, we’ll reach out to those who are first in their families to seek college degrees.”

The nearly 2,500-square-foot space features four nooks for peer mentors and student services professionals offering assistance with study skills, selecting classes, career counseling and generally navigating college life.

“The opening of CASA’s Student Success Center represents another significant milestone for SJSU,” said Maureen Scharberg, associate vice president for student academic success services¬† “Now, four out of the seven colleges have centrally located centers to assist their students succeed at SJSU through academic advising and related services.¬† These centers are a critical component of SJSU’s initiative to improve our retention and graduation rates.”

The room was also built to provide space for students to meet informally. Nearly all the furniture is mobile, including a 22-person conference table that can be pulled apart for up to four groups.

“We are seeking to offer a wide range of resources that will make students successful,” Bullock said. “We really hope that the center becomes very busy very soon.”

That will undoubtedly happen, given the center’s services, modern decor, comfortable seating and convenient location on the fifth floor of MacQuarrie Hall. Then there’s the iPads the college plans to loan to students for use within the center, served by WiFi.

The center’s director is Kathryn Sucher, a professor of nutrition, food science and packaging. Once a darkroom, the renovation cost around $300,000, all from non-general fund sources including private gifts.

Bullock is careful to emphasize that this is just the beginning. He envisions a center that will evolve over time, acting on the suggestions of students and faculty.

“We hope the center will be dynamic and ever changing to meet the needs of student success,” he said.#