For students to have a positive, transformative impact on the world around them, they need the proper support — from start to finish.
Newman’s soon to be completed Student Success Center is designed to empower students. The student-focused hub features improved access to tutoring, career coaches and resources to make students’ academic, personal and career goals a reality.
“Our entire purpose is to help students succeed,” former Director of Student Success Kate Bussell said. “We want to see students positively progress toward graduation and that means providing them all the services they need to be successful — not just in-classroom help. Students are whole people with complex and interesting lives that impact their academics. All of this must be taken into consideration if we want to be student-centered. This new space will allow for that.”
The Student Success Center, which will support the second goal of the university’s strategic plan, was designed with holistic, collaborative, cohesive and consistent student services in mind. The space features areas dedicated to the Jets Welcome Center and Testing Center. Additional adaptive spaces can be customized to suit the needs of users with the help of movable chairs, tables and whiteboards to facilitate peer collaboration.
Bussell explained that the center will support student success in various ways, from providing one cohesive space to giving students more immediate access to assistance.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Bob Beumer emphasized that one of Newman’s foundational principles is to “assure that all students receive a quality education.”
“External support helps us provide those elements that make a good education a great education,” Beumer said. “The Student Success Center is one example of external support making a difference, allowing us to bring our added resources under one roof to better serve our students.”
In fall 2022, Newman University received a $2.2 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant, which was many years in the making, was created to implement the project “Navigating the University Experience: Integrating Student and Faculty Support for Increased Retention, Graduation and Professional Achievement” over the course of five years.
The Newman Navigator program was created to provide students with a structured and supportive framework to help develop leadership skills through hands-on learning, research, scholarship and service opportunities. By the time students graduate, they will have completed internships, shadowing, advising and the creation of a personal mission statement.
“We always talk about Newman as the ‘degree of difference,’ and this helps us identify how we can take that a step further for our students,” said Lori Steiner, Ph.D., dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of mathematics. “To fully realize Navigator’s comprehensive student support program, it takes resources. Thankfully, the Title III grant will allow us to fully implement Navigator in the way that we had hoped and dreamed it would be.”
In accordance with the grant, Newman hired a full-time director of Navigator and is renovating the $1.5 million Student Success Center space — formerly the Newman bookstore — with the help of $150,000 from the Title III grant. Additionally, gifts from individual alumni and friends of Newman University along with a $350,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation is helping make the Student Success Center project a reality.
Newman University would like to thank the following for supporting the Student Success Center project: Dondlinger and Alloy Construction, President Kathleen Jagger, Vice President for Finance and Administration Tony Beata, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Bob Beumer, Vice President of Academic Affairs Alden Stout, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Jill Fort, Director of Career Services Sarah Rupp, Student Support Specialist Madeline Vardell, Bussell, the university’s generous donors and the Board of Trustees.
“This was a huge undertaking by the university, and we couldn’t make this happen without these
key players,” Bussell said. “It is an impressive feat that speaks to our collaboration and dedication to student success.”