Gisela Gray-Peoples joined the College of Humanities and the Arts Student Success Center as interim director a year ago, but she has been involved in student advising for years, first as an advisor in Academic Advising and Retention Services and later while teaching what she refers to as “academic bootcamps,” Science 2 and 90T.
She said she likes the college-based success center approach. The success centers were supported by the Academic Affairs Educational Excellence and Student Experience priority group work from 2014-16 and will be integral to supporting SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success advising pillar.
“It is good because it allows us to form closer bonds with both faculty and students,” she said. “It allows us to work with the students, first by giving information on their general education, answering any questions about university policy and helping them to follow roadmaps. We then send them off to see their major advisor to learn specific information about their major.”
In the fall 2015 semester, H&A’s Student Success Center had 2,131 visits with students and Gray-Peoples said the word is still getting out about the one-year old center.
“We can help them to get their questions answered and connect to resources,” she said.
The staff comprises two full-time advisors, a part-time advisor and three student peer advisors who provide general education advising with referrals to other places on campus for questions outside their expertise.
The space also provides support for faculty members, Gray-Peoples said, noting that she recently hosted a “Graduation 101” session for faculty advisors. H&A faculty members heard from representatives in the registrar’s office about the steps students need to take to apply for graduation, and how to submit major and substitution forms.
“It helps faculty and students alike,” she said. “We can make sure we know what all the common problems are so we can be more proactive as opposed to reactive.”
Gray-Peoples said the center staff members are working on marketing their services to all H&A students and plan to have more workshops on different subjects in the fall semester.