Student Services Improve Success at Northeast College
Research shows that "supporting and enhancing the student experience...from first contact through to becoming alumni is critical to success in higher education today."1 That support is arguably even more critical in the demanding study of healthcare -- which is why Northeast College of Health Sciences invests in fully engaging students throughout their academic and career journey.
Above and beyond: simple services to one-on-one support
We asked Carol Faivre, executive director of the Office of Student Engagement, to give us an overview of the nature and impact of student services and support at Northeast College. She was quick to point out that the college is committed not to simply providing programs, but actively engaging and supporting each student as an individual.
She noted that, while many colleges require students to seek support department-by- department, the Office of Student Engagement is a centralized hub for support services. "Students know that that they can come to us with any question or need they might have, and we will do our best to help them. This means that they don't have to go office-to-office to get an answer. In fact, we have a reputation of 'If you come here with a problem, we're going to help you resolve it,'" Faivre added.
Then she offered an example that any student (or parent) can appreciate. "I once had a student in my office during finals week who had mixed up their test times and completely missed a final exam. Everyone was gone and, understandably, the individual was extremely upset. After I got them calmed down, I helped them craft an email to their faculty member. The outcome for the student was positive as the faculty member was willing to work with the individual and allowed them to take the final before leaving for break. While this was certainly a unique scenario, it is reflective of the fact that students appreciate this office for all kinds of reasons -- because they know we're determined to help them."
It's not just solving problems, it's creating student opportunities
As we discussed the full range of programs and services the Office of Student Engagement provides, it became clear that the team does so much more than solve problems. Faivre spoke of their work with:
- Accessibility and Disability Services
- Campus dining
- Counseling Services
- Clubs and class groups
- Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
- Grievances and complaints
- Peer mentors
- Professional development
- Residence life (on and off campus)
- Student and community activities
- Title IX
Support from start to finish
At Northeast College, student support is both comprehensive and continual, starting even before studies begin. Ms. Faivre shared that "Each incoming class has a Facebook group that we facilitate. These closed groups help incoming students get to know one another. We're also there on new student orientation day, and I always say to the prospective student and their family, 'Now my team takes over -- and we'll get you through the finish line to commencement.'"
This commitment to the individual is highly relational, fostering a genuine sense of belonging. The student engagement team introduces itself to students multiple times within the first few weeks of the trimester, including at new resident move-in for those living on campus. This ensures a good initial connection and allows the staff to know and greet many of the students by name when they come to the office or pass in the hallways.
The college also gets students involved in supporting each other via the Peer Mentor-New Student Connection program, which matches new arrivals with Northeast College honors students. In addition to "meet and greet" opportunities that enhance personal connections, the peer mentors have regular office hours when new students can ask them anything, from "I'm Canadian, can you explain U.S. cellphone plans?" to "Tell me about professor so-and-so and what I should expect in their class."
From tutoring to counseling, support makes a crucial difference
Academics at Northeast College are rigorous, so students find great value in tutoring as they matriculate through their programs. Tutoring options include Open Study, Small Group and 1:1. Any student, regardless of GPA, can attend Open Study tutoring and all new (T1) students have access to all forms of tutoring regardless of GPA-demonstrated need.
The Counseling Services is another key resource, offering unlimited counseling services that are free and confidential. Ms. Faivre emphasized that "mental health issues are on the rise across many professions, and among all stakeholders within those professions, so having an accessible resource for managing a host of mental health concerns is more important now than ever before."
Learn patient-centered care in a student-centered environment
Just as Northeast College teaches patient-centered care it also practices student-centered education. The student engagement staff members-- from counselors to resident life assistants to professional development coordinators and the executive director herself -- take every opportunity to reach out to students. They also encourage students to stop by the office, call or email to acquaint themselves with the many ways that the Office of Student Engagement can help optimize their academic lives, enhance their living experience on and off campus, and give them a head start on career development.
Discover how we enrich the student experience and empower careers
This article is just a brief overview of the support and services available at Northeast College of Health Sciences. Be sure to also read the upcoming article on student clubs and organizations, and the forthcoming feature on professional development at Northeast College.
The Role of Student Services in the Improving of Student Experience in Higher Education, Lumen Research Center