The open option teaching assistants and the academic resource coaches were melded into one position and are now known as academic success coaches at UCM. Their offices are located in the new Success Advising Center in the lower level of the Elliott Student Union.
Previously, the open option teaching assistants were in the Gateway Center and assisted students who did not have a major.
The academic resource coaches were in the Mentoring Advocacy and Peer Support center, located in the Dockery Building.
“Both of these positions were designed to help students who are at risk,” said Ken Schueller, director of success advising. “By merging these positions, it simplifies peer support for students at risk.”
Academic success coaches are student workers who help students select a major and assist struggling students.
Amy Knost, academic success coach, is one of the 21 academic success coaches and primarily helps open options students.
“Not only are there success advisors for every student, but there are success coaches who are currently enrolled at UCM,” Knost said. “This gives the students an opportunity to talk to someone their own age who has most likely gone through the exact same thing.”
The SAC is composed of 21 success advisors, including senior advisors Paula Brant, Natalie Peirce and Kristin Salas. Schueller makes decisions for the center to help reach the goal of equitable advising.
Office manager Jacqueline Holbrook and the staff are very conscientious about the students.
“The staff is hard working and caring and they put the needs of their students before their own needs,” said Holbrook.
The facility is designed to make it easier for students with more people to answer a variety of questions and assist students.
“I think the Success Advising Center is a great way for each college and advisor on campus to be more accessible and easier to locate,” said Tiera Walkenbach, an academic success coach. “I think it being in the Union really centralizes everyone and allows students to not get lost or intimidated by random offices that are scattered all over campus.”
The SAC mission is to meet educational needs for everyone, according to the advising center staff. Each year, approximately 1,600 freshmen start their college experience at UCM. This new model is designed to build relationships with those students so they know how to get help throughout their college experience.
“The coaches rely upon their experience as a proficient student to help guide their peers to success,” said Holbrook.
The goal is to make sure the students have the convenience and the assistance with academic needs, according to the faculty and staff mission statement.
“The new center is an amazing addition to the university. It houses all of the advisors in one central place on campus that all students know,” said Courtney Long, an academic success coach. “The Success Advising Center offers a friendly and helpful feeling when you walk through the doors.”
In a few weeks, the SAC will feature computers for students to work on assignments, check grades and add classes.
For more information about the SAC or to schedule an appointment, go to ucmo.edu/success or call the office at 660-543-4721.
Editor’s note: The author is an employee at the SAC.