One of the most vital parts of a successful student government is their ability to share and try to problem solve with higher officials. On Thursday, Nov. 1 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., student government held their weekly meeting in A-1002.
Dr. Yolanda Farmer, vice president of student development, Robert Morris, dean of enrollment management, and Dr. Angela Kaysen Luzbetak, dean of student success, came to the meeting to discuss new ideas for incoming student success. Cynthia Vasquez-Barrios, dean of students, was not able to attend the meeting.
Morris is a newcomer to the college, who started only six months ago. His main role is recruiting students from high school. He also oversees the rest of the admissions staff, financial aid department, and office of records and registration. His goal is to make the students comfortable with the admission process and feel welcome to the college atmosphere.
“One of the things I noticed when I got here is that it such a big institution, and when you are faced with that things can get a little impersonalized,” said Morris. “ What I am trying to do with the admissions team is to sort of put the recruiters out there in a way so people know who they are what they do, what high schools they visit, and really look at recruitment in a whole new way.”
He knows that students choose to go to the community college for a variety of different reasons, and he and his team want to make sure they understand what each category of students need. His first plan of attack is to get the recruiters on the website so future students know a familiar face to contact. All the staff will have a biography and a list of high schools they work with.
“I want them to know if they are interested they know who to contact right from the beginning, and to start building relationships.” Morris said. “We have so much to offer but it can be overwhelming.”
He admits, financial aid will always be a little harder part of the process than the rest. He is working hard to figure out what are the largest obstacles in the process. All three deans wanted open discussion on the application process.
Many members of student government spoke about it being hard to find the second step of what to do with all the information given after they received their acceptance letter. Morris felt like the admissions page was very well done, but needed more information to tell students what they need to do between acceptance and new student orientation.
His team is hoping by after winter break to have a page just for admitted students. It will have information about the My JJC portal and other resources.
Farmer wanted to know if students wanted a text or email to receive information about scheduling. Most student government members said they would like to keep it through the mail. Member Jefferson Cherrington gave the idea to let the student opt into if they rather want email or text.
“We have a lot of information, it’s just getting it into the right bite-sizing,” Cherrington said.
Next up to discuss her department was Kaysen Luzbetak. Her department focuses on pathways for students. When the process starts with the career counseling service, it’s important to know plan B. Once that is figured out, it is much easier to make an academic plan. She also is in charge of disability services. She also shared information about Trio, and office of multicultural student affairs.
“Student success really is being able to tell our story through a series of connection and opportunities that make all of you unique but with one main goal,” Luzbetak said. “We expect every seat at graduation to be full, and if that doesn’t happen do you know what happens the next day? There’s conversations.”
She mentioned the changes that will occur in academic advising. She says students always need more help with advising. This lead to the way the school works with First Year experience. She says the goal is to have every student to have an academic plan. They are also moving parts of counseling into that area as well.
“Every fall we see about 3,000 new students and in spring about 1,000 new students. We know coming in the door in the fall we need to be ready and over-prepare. So we will be changing in how we do the initial advising, and expand in groups,” Luzbetak says.
This will be done with virtual advising; it’s not so much connecting with a person but getting the information in general.
Vice President Rebecca Ashbacher spoke about the need to have more advisers that know certain career paths so students take classes they know will go toward their degrees.
The last initiative that Farmer shared was about hiring a new dean for academic intervention and support.