Student Success Center brings Information, Resources and Support to Assist DUSON Students
The Student Success Center (SSC) at DUSON celebrated the opening of its new location on the first floor of Pearson Hall with a ribbon-cutting and rededication on Tuesday, October 31. The center started in 2020 in response to students’ increased stress brought on by the pandemic and the racial unrest and political strife that unfolded nationally following the death of George Floyd. Bernice Alston, PhD, was named director in 2021 and said the center continues to help students who need wellness support around academic stress and beyond.
“Students will come in and they’ll say, ‘I’m struggling, I’m not doing well.’ And during that time, we start asking questions to learn more about why they feel they aren’t doing well, and what doing well looks like to them.” In addition to Alston, the center has two full-time staff and an intern. When students submit an SSC consultation request, that initiates the engagement between SSC staff and the student to assess the situation and then create study plans based on all the responsibilities the student might have such as family, work, and school. The center also coordinates with the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office to assist students who might need more in-depth mental health care.
Most often, the SCC helps with things like time management, study strategies, and test-taking skills, Alston said, noting the SCC also collaborates with the university’s Student Disability and Access Office. Alston serves as DUSON’s Disability Services Liaison.
Twice an academic year, the center hosts career fairs and provides services such as cover letter writing, resume preparation and mock interviews. The SCC also oversees all clubs and organizations at the school and operates the food closet, which is located in the student lounge and is stocked with food items to help mitigate food insecurities students might be having. In her role as SCC Director, Alston works with the team implementing Stress First Aid (SFA), a peer-support training program that focuses on noticing and addressing colleagues and peers who might be under stress and helping to mitigate stressors before they cause more serious mental health issues. Additionally, this fall the SCC will have a soft launch of its peer tutoring program, which will officially begin in the spring semester.
Students are told about the center during orientation, but Alston said they continue to try to spread the word through fliers, messages on the electronic display panels, and biweekly newsletters.
While the staff used to be dispersed around the nursing school, as of this fall, the center’s staff is now consolidated on the first floor, Office Suite in room 1150. Alston said having one go-to spot for the center will help build awareness about what the SCC has to offer. “We’re continually taking a look at what our students’ needs are and identifying services and programs that can continue to improve their experience,” Alston said. “It’s not just about getting you to the end. We try to guide your way to graduation, but we want to make sure that you’re not just surviving but thriving while you’re here.”