ACCESS aims to bridge student and faculty and increase student success

by Apr 15, 2012 6:50 pm Tags: , ,

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Tim Nielsen (center) and David Heflin (right) talk with another student during the ACCESS, the social science student success center April 12. Photo by Derik Irvin / Spartan Daily

Social Sciences students looking to do homework or ask questions about their academic career now have the Academic Counseling Center for Excellence in the Social Sciences.

The center has been open for students, but had its grand opening on April 12 with about 50 people in attendance.

Sergio Campos, a junior economics major, said he's been to the center twice already for advising.

"We invited people that have to do with student success to help facilitate the opening," said faculty adviser Hien Do.

The official opening allowed people to find out about the center and see what if has to offer, Do said.

He said these included deans, alumni and faculty from other student success centers.

The center contains books written by faculty members, and is a place where students can do group projects, homework and talk to academic advisers, he said.

The room, 240 Clark Hall, used to be the communications study lab and construction began on the new success center in August, Do said.

The center has a shelf of books, several conference rooms for students to meet, and numerous tables to sit at.

In her speech, Dean Sheila Bienenfield of the College of Social Sciences expressed her hopes for the center.

"We've invested heavily in creating this because we want students to know that we value them and want to help them," she said.

She said they don't want students to feel lost or wander from office to office.

"Before, we didn't have a place to go, now we have this resource," said senior sociology major Skye Vallejos.

It has taken four years for them to figure out how to create the center, said Maureen Scharberg of Student Academic Success Services.

"This is a dream come true," she said.

The National Science Foundation, an agency that helps funds federal science-related research, gave a grant to help create the center, Scharberg said.

She said six out of SJSU's seven colleges have student success centers, and they create a sense of community.

She said success centers increase the sense of community with students and that all the people in the room care about the success of students.

Students in attendance said they felt this new center will bring a lot of positive changes.

"Students know about resources, but are sometimes too intimidated," said Victoria Smedley, a student assistant in the sociology department office.

She said the department staff communicates with a lot of students and added that she came to the opening to see how it will aid the department.

Mark Salangsang, a counselor education graduate student, said he decided to come to the opening because of his interests in the social sciences.

"I would like to work with students, and this is the department I relate to the most," he said.

He said the center will be great in two ways.

It will provide extra support for students, like academic counseling, and will be good for student organizations to use, he said.

Tim Nielson, a junior economics major, said he found out about the center from his friend and about how counseling is offered.

Academic adviser Valerie Chapman said she is happy to help students, and cares about them getting their degree.

"We're here to help them," said Kelly Glass, a graduate student and Peer Adviser.




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