August 2020 – Student Academic Hub Newsletter

Two Students Walking in Rowley Courtyard

Welcome back!

Hello Marymount staff and faculty – we are excited to embark on the fall 2020 semester journey with you. These are trying times, and we will need to work as a cohesive team more than ever in order to create a supportive environment for our students. We’re ready, willing, and able to provide assistance, advice, sarcastic wit, corny jokes, motivational messages… consider reaching out. We’re a neat group.

Speaking of neat, we are now two units instead of one! The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) still exists for faculty support, but the Student Academic Hub is now a separate unit for all student academic services.

What is the Student Academic Hub? What happened to the CTL?

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is now dedicated specifically to faculty support and development. The CTL is comprised of Joe Provenzano and Clint Watnee, working with the illustrious Jason Craig. You can reach the CTL team at, or by contacting one of their staff members directly.

All student academic support services that used to be housed in the CTL and the Academic Advising Center are now offered by the Student Academic Hub. Specifically, the Student Academic Hub’s services are as follows:

  • Academic advising for undergraduate students
  • Academic coaching
  • Student access services
  • Peer tutoring
  • Peer writing assistance
  • And help for students for whom English is an additional language (EAL).

The “Hub” is located in Rowley G105, and our office hours are M-F, 9am-5pm. Our website is still taking shape, but worth checking out.

Appointments are being conducted virtually, with opportunities for students to come into the Hub for an in-office experience. Here is a link to more information about how our services are offered this fall.

For our new student-focused unit, we thought a naming contest among the MU student body would be appropriate. We had a great response, and received over 100 name and logo submissions. Favour Adeniyi came up with the winning name, and Maryam Wasfy came up with the winning logo. I am honored to unveil our new logo, Vision, and Mission:

Student Academic Hub Logo

Vision: The Student Academic Hub aspires to be the place that cultivates Marymount students’ intellectual curiosity and confidence as they explore and develop the skills to learn with purpose. 

Mission: The Student Academic Hub is a positive, nurturing environment that honors the diversity of our community and encourages the development of Marymount students into purpose-driven learners through intentional academic support and leadership opportunities. Through meaningful conversations and collaborations with academic advisors, academic coaches, peer tutors, writing consultants, and access services, students are empowered to practice skills and habits for academic success, learn with and from their peers, and reflect on how their learning provides momentum to achieve their goals. The “Hub” is a proactive source of support and advocacy throughout students’ Marymount experience, from orientation to graduation.

Please read through the rest of this newsletter for information on what’s new and different within the Hub. I wish everyone a safe and smooth start to the semester.

Best regards,

Michelle Steiner

AVP for Student Success


Academic Advising – Andrea Miller

Although things may change for spring semester as we plan for the Academic Affairs restructuring of the Schools, for the fall 2020 semester advising is as follows*:

  • Joanne Briscoe – Sociology, Nursing, Health Sciences
  • Alexandra Fee – Accounting, Business Administration, Economics (B.A., B.S.), Biology (B.A., B.S.), Biochemistry
  • Andrea Miller – Undeclared, non-degree
  • Deryka Nairne – Information Technology, Cybersecurity, Criminal Justice
  • Kaylynn Peralta – Psychology
  • Linda Walton- Mathematics, Education, all majors in the School of Design, Arts, and Humanities

To learn a little more about our advisors, feel free to peruse their bios!

*Jeanine Dakduk was our mighty School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Education (SSME) advisor, but resigned her position in July – she has moved out of state. SSME majors have been divided among the advisors, as you see above.


Academic Coaching – Kaylynn Peralta

I am excited to announce the debut of the Academic Coaching Connection website! I created this website to connect our students to tools and strategies they can use as they work towards academic success. I have also created the Academic Coaching Connection online Canvas resource for our students on academic probation. This resource offers these students a place to learn and practice study strategies with guidance and feedback from me, their academic coach.

Students will still find me in their Starfish Success Network, and can make appointments through Starfish. There is a referral to academic coaching in Starfish if you come across a student who needs assistance with time management, study skills, learning strategies, goal-setting, etc. Referring a student in Starfish means that I reach out to them and invite them in for an appointment. Please take advantage of this Starfish feature, especially if you think a student won’t reach out for coaching help on their own.


Starfish – Michelle Steiner, aka “The Starfish Wizard”

We are in the process of working with our Starfish support specialist to optimize how we utilize Starfish for maximum impact. This process has included cleaning up the system on the back end, increasing functionality, and creating reports that will allow us to measure impact on student retention. Because of this process, I’d like to provide you with the following information:

Role changes: We are moving towards aligning with best practices of assigning staff roles within Starfish based on permissions (i.e., what someone should be able to see/do) rather than providing separate role names that mirror individual titles held within the University. If your Starfish role was affected, you have already received an email from me, explaining in more detail what it means for you.

Flag changes: Based on faculty input, we have provided two different types of flags that you can raise:

  • [Documenting only] flags: for times when you want to document something regarding a student, but are not expecting outreach from another unit
  • [Requesting Outreach] flags: for times when you would appreciate outreach to a student from someone else to supplement the outreach you’ve been providing

The names of the flags themselves have not changed – that is, you’ll still see the “poor attendance” flag, the “missed/late assignments” flag, the “other” flag, etc. – but most of these flags will have the 2 above options available to raise. By providing these options, we can understand more clearly when faculty would appreciate some help, versus when they would like to independently work with a student on the issue they are documenting. We hope that these changes will encourage faculty to document behavior that, while not requiring outreach, may give us insight into potential patterns of behavior across classes that might indicate a larger issue.

Kudos Competition: Starfish allows faculty and staff to raise kudos (positive vibes, if you will) that students can view in their Starfish profile. Students also receive an email letting them know that a kudo has been raised. Currently we have 4 kudos available to raise in Starfish – “improved performance”, “positive academic performance”, “potential content tutor”, and “potential writing consultant.” We’d like to add more kudos to this list!

Students appreciate hearing that they are doing well and we need more opportunities to make this happen. Please send your kudo ideas through this form. The winning submissions will get added to Starfish for use this fall semester.

New referrals: Starfish allows faculty and staff to refer a student to a service, and then someone associated with that service reaches out to the student within 24-48 hours of the referral being raised. It’s a good way to connect students to services they need, especially if you’re concerned that the student wouldn’t reach out for help on their own. Here is the list of referrals that will be available in Starfish this fall (* indicates a new referral opportunity as of this fall):

  • Academic Coaching
  • *Center for Career Services
  • Center for Global Education
  • *Office of Financial Aid
  • *Office of Wellness, Prevention, and Education
  • Registrar
  • Tutoring/Writing Assistance

Raise your Hand: Students will be able to raise a flag called “I’m raising my hand!” to alert me that they have a question or concern, but are unsure about who to ask or where to go. These questions/concerns will be addressed within 1 business day by someone who can best assist them. I will send out information about how students can raise this flag to students but also to you, so that everyone is in the know!


Student Access Services – Sven Jones and Maureen Dour

Welcome back! Please know that we (Maureen Dour and Sven Jones) are still here to partner with you as you teach and engage with your students this semester, whether that is in-person, online or a combination of the two!

Changes to SAS practices:

Faculty Contact Sheets: This semester, we have suggested to students that they may share their Faculty Contact sheets electronically with you. We encourage them to discuss the content (their accommodations and recommended academic supports) with you, in a way that makes sense for the two of you (email, phone, Zoom, or in-person).

  • Once you and your student have discussed and agreed upon how accommodations will be implemented, please:
    • Add your name (signature) and date to the second page of the FCS.
    • Email the signed and dated FCS to as acknowledgement of having received it and agreeing with its contents.
  • As always, if you have questions or concerns about any listed accommodation, please let us know. We are happy to work with you and your student to address challenges.

Testing Accommodations: Due to Marymount’s social distancing policy and practice, no in-person accommodated testing will be provided. Please make arrangements directly with your students for all testing needs. Should questions arise in this process, please let us know and we will partner with you to find a practical solution.

Edit regarding testing accommodations, 9/1/20: We will now be offering in-person accommodated testing each Wednesday from 9-5. Available seats are limited by social distancing requirements, so we are encouraging students to submit the testing request form on the Hub website the week before they would like to take their test to reserve a spot.


Peer Tutoring/Writing Assistance/EAL – Lygie Hinkle and John Gilbert

Peer tutoring begins on Tuesday, September 1st.

The Hub will not offer in-person tutoring during this time due to COVID-19. Students are encouraged to make online tutoring appointments through TutorTrac. However, The Hub is offering in-office space with a wifi connected computer & webcam for students to attend their virtual tutoring appointment. Please see designated hours on our website and have students email to reserve their spot.

Coming soon to our website – a complete list of courses that we can tutor in fall 2020 semester! Be on the look-out for that list sometime next week (and, as more peer tutors are hired, the list will continue to grow).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar