Happy fall 2021 semester, everyone!
I hope the start of the semester has been glorious. My son, Xavier (we call him “X”), came to campus with me the other day, and had quite a reaction to our new grassy area in front of the main house – he thought it was awesome. He also loves our new Hub tutoring space in Rowley 1008, and he was able to meet some of our peer tutors and new peer academic coaches. He’s now in 8th grade, and although he tells me that school is “boring,” he leaves for school with a smile (and perfectly coiffed hair – that’s important; brushing teeth isn’t as important, apparently). X is well-equipped with academic strategies at this point (which happens when your mom is an academic coach), and I mentally high-five myself every time he tells me a strategy he’s using to stay on track – 2 mental high-fives thus far, for those of you keeping score at home… He’s thrilled to be back in person after a fully remote 7th grade year, and I am thrilled to see so many of us back in action on campus.
Quick notes about The Hub:
As always, we appreciate working with you to support our students in the best ways possible. Our services are used more readily when you talk to students about us, so please do discuss the Hub with our student community. They should be using our services before there’s an issue – we’re trying to help them build good academic habits, so that they are prepared to navigate their semester with confidence and success. How do you get them to us? Raise a referral in Starfish, direct them to our website, have them call (703.284.1538) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or have them stop by Rowley 1005 for a tour and to learn about who we are and what we do.
Below you will find updates and other exciting information from each of the services that the Hub offers.
Wishing you every good thing as the semester ramps up,
AVP for Student Success
Academic Coach, Graduate Assistant: Chanelle Sears
Chanelle Sears is our new GA Academic Coach for fall 2021 semester. Chanelle appears in Starfish on every student’s Success Network page (which is the first page students see when they log in to Starfish). She is available to coach both graduate and undergraduate students on time management, organization, prioritization, goal-setting, study skills, etc.
New this semester: Undergraduate peer academic coaches
Huge thanks to Anne Aichele from Student Affairs for providing this peer-coaching opportunity to student leaders and providing the Hub with an opportunity to connect freshmen with successful students for meaningful conversations about good academic habits!
Eight student leaders were trained this summer to work with freshmen in an academic coaching capacity. Faculty who teach CNCT 100 sections will be sharing information about these peer coaches with their students. If you want to connect a freshman student in one of your courses to these peer coaches, please let them know that they can find the peer coaches in Starfish:
Director: Sven Jones
Learning Specialist: Maureen Dour
Proctoring Services Announcement
Student Access Services is excited to share the new test proctoring service available to students who are registered with SAS and have been approved specifically for testing accommodations (this will be listed on the Faculty Contact Sheet that students share with you). The proctoring service is available 3 days a week: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm in Marymount’s Reinsch Library, room 212. Our proctors are Graduate Assistants who are assigned to work with SAS.
This semester you and your student(s) will arrange details/logistics together, to include when the student should take the exam and how the student should return their exam back to you. Students can reserve a spot in advance, or they can drop in during proctoring hours and will be accommodated if space allows. Students should arrive with test in-hand and ready to take their exam (i.e., having the access codes, test instructions, approved materials to use during exam). Please be aware that SAS will not hold (store) exams before they are administered or after they are completed for instructor pick-up.
You are not required to use SAS as an exam proctoring service, and are welcome to arrange accommodated testing in whatever way works for you and your students. More information can be found on the SAS website, and please email SAS at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
AVP for Student Success: Michelle Steiner
Starfish continues to be a robust tool that allows faculty and staff the ability to comment on student performance and helps nudge students to appropriate resources. Below are some reminders of Starfish functionality; contact Michelle Steiner if you would like to learn more about Starfish.
Attendance in Starfish
Please consider tracking attendance in Starfish. If you do so, and a student receives 3 unexcused absences in a class, an automatic flag is raised that alerts the Hub, and we outreach immediately. It’s not too late to start tracking!
Putting office hour appointments in Starfish
Students are proficient at using Starfish to make appointments with their academic advisor, an academic coach, Student Access Services, and their faculty. Please consider putting office hours into Starfish so that students can make appointments with you through the system. You automatically appear on the Success Network page of each student enrolled in your classes, so why not add some office hour appointments for them to access?
Sending a referral for a student via Starfish results in the referred service reaching out to the student within 24-48 hours to set up an appointment.
Flags can be raised to simply document a situation, “[Documenting Only],” or to request additional assistance in navigating a situation, “[Requesting Outreach].” If you choose a [Requesting Outreach] flag, either an automatic email gets sent to the student that is applicable to the type of flag raised or Michelle Steiner reviews the flag and determines whether to reach out directly or assign the flag to someone who can best address the situation.
Students love receiving kudos; raise one that tells them they’re exhibiting great academic performance, or that you see improvement. You can even send a kudo for stellar attendance or if you see a student helping their fellow peers.
Starfish is only as robust as the effort we put into using it – please consider helping the community track and outreach to students in a proactive way!
Assistant Director, Learning Resources: Dr. Lygie Hinkle
Writing/EAL Specialist: Dr. John Gilbert
Academic Integrity Coordinator: Dr. Wayne Schroeder
This semester, we have 17 undergraduate content tutors and 1 graduate content tutor, as well as 8 undergraduate writing consultants and 4 graduate writing consultants available to support students in the learning process. Students make appointments for tutoring or writing assistance through TutorTrac. We offer content tutoring for many courses, and writing assistance for all courses. Students can make appointments with Dr. Gilbert -“Dr. G”- through Starfish.
Senior Academic Advisor: Alexandra Fee
Academic Advisors: Linda Walton, Abby Miller, Megha Patel, one additional new advisor TBA
Academic Advising is welcoming new advisors to the team! Megha Patel starts at the Hub on September 13th, and a second new advisor will join us a week later, on September 20th. We are excited to continue building a solid advising team and provide students with guidance as they navigate their academic journeys. More information forthcoming about advisor student rosters as we onboard new staff.
A special heartfelt thank you to the Associate Deans and the Office of the Registrar staff – you were integral in our ability to serve students well during a time of advisor transition. We appreciate your partnership.
The Student Academic Hub is working diligently to provide support for our students, and we appreciate your collaborative efforts in this endeavor. Thank you for raising tracking items in Starfish that alert us to how students are doing, touching base with us to inquire about how to navigate issues and situations, and explaining to students who we are, what we offer, and how they can reach us. Congrats to our community – our early alert survey completion rate was 82%, up from 72% in fall 2019!
I have some updates for you about the Hub – it is important to me that you are aware of what is happening in our unit, so that you’re able to provide students and others with accurate information from which they can make informed choices about how best to utilize our services.
Kaylynn Peralta, our academic coach, no longer works at Marymount, and we were sad to see her go. In the meanwhile, Emily Carns is a magnificent GA who is helping us sustain our academic coaching program – her availability is T/W/Th from 4:30-7:30pm. I also have academic coaching hours available on M (2:00-4:00pm) and F (11:30am-1:30pm). Both Emily and I show up in all students’ Starfish Success Networks (which is the homepage for students when they open up Starfish).
Andrea Miller, our Advising Director, no longer works at Marymount. She moved back to Florida, where I imagine she’s sitting on a beach and enjoying her favorite kind of weather! We miss her. For any advising-related issues/questions, please direct those to me. Andrea and Kaylynn were advising exploratory students, non-degree students, and psychology students. To help us sustain our advising, we have 2 glorious GAs, Stephanie Semaan and Kellen Cannon, who are meeting with these students and helping them navigate Marymount successfully. Both of them are linked to their advisees and show up in their students’ Starfish Success Networks.
John Gilbert, our fearless Writing Specialist and English as an Additional Language (EAL) expert, is on leave for the fall semester. We are hoping that he is back with us in the spring full time – he’s excited to unveil his Marymount Online Writing Lab (OWL) and offer his Grammar 911 initiative to students needing some foundational assistance with writing.
Student Academic Hub location
WE MOVED! You can find our main front desk (and Dori’s welcoming demeanor) in Rowley 1005.
Thank you for your partnership as we work together to guide students in their academic journeys. The rest of our newsletter includes quick things to note at the semester’s midpoint.
P.S. There’s a Zoom Bingo card at the end of the newsletter. You’re welcome.
We hope that you and your students have settled into a good routine this semester! We appreciate your commitment to working with all of your students, and including us in conversations you have about implementing SAS-approved accommodations.
A key part of the accommodations process requires that students discuss their SAS-approved accommodations with you to ensure that listed accommodations don’t fundamentally alter your course(s). This dialogue is important because not every accommodation listed on a student’s Faculty Contact Sheet (FCS) is reasonable or appropriate for every class.
The SAS team enjoys partnering with you to determine what makes sense in each individual course you teach. Accommodations listed on an FCS exist because our office has identified specific actions necessary to mitigate the impact of a disability while not providing the student a means for academic success at the competitive expense of their peers.
You are always empowered to work with individual students struggling in class to help promote learning and academic success. It is important to clarify that any added academic adjustments that you offer to students that are not listed on the FCS should not be tied (offered as a result of) the student’s disability. These additional adjustments should be available for any deserving student struggling in class.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns,
Sven Jones & Maureen Dour
Check out this list of all courses for which we can tutor course content. Writing consultations are available for all courses at Marymount. Refer students to tutoring by raising a referral in Starfish, or by telling them to use Tutortrac (which is found under “Sign On Links” on the MU portal) to set up an appointment.
We have a success blog that needs more posts! If you have students who you have identified as having good success strategies (for time management, studying, organization, prioritization, focus, motivation, etc.), please send Michelle Steiner their names. Michelle will reach out and work with them to post an article on our blog.
Advisors are diligently reaching out to students who have multiple flags. For more information about all of our flags, including who can raise each flag, reasons to raise each flag, and what action is taken when the each flag is raised, please refer to our Keep Teaching! webpage under “Starfish Information.”
Many of you are active users of our Starfish system, and I appreciate your efforts in documenting what’s going on with students. The more information we put into Starfish, the more robust the tool becomes. Here are some thoughts for you as you continue to use Starfish:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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:
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:
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.
AVP for Student Success
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*:
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.
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.
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:
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):
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!
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).
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 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 email@example.com 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).