Whether it’s a question about financial aid, directions to an office on campus or assistance with navigating Southern’s Online Accessible Records (SOAR), University of Southern Mississippi students can get the help they need to soar at an Eagle Landing.
Designed as a one-stop destination for information, Eagle Landings are information stations placed in high-traffic locations across campus, with signage that includes Eagle Landing’s signature “golden feather” icon. Each is operated by staff from the Southern Miss Student Success Center (SSC) and student volunteers trained to assist students with a variety of needs.
“We see Eagle Landings as a concierge approach to serving our students,” said Southern Miss Assistant Provost and creator of Eagle Landing, Dr. Brett Kemker, who is coordinating the university’s student retention efforts. “A student comes to the Eagle Landing, asks us a question or describes a challenge they are experiencing, and we know what to do to help them.
“If they need help finding a specific office, department, building or any other location on campus, we’ll escort them to their destination,” Kemker said. “If they need a specific service, we’ll establish a contact that can help the student. We don’t just send them out the door with directions and a name.”
Current Eagle Landing locations are in the Learning Commons of Cook Library, the Century Park residential complex, and the Office of the First Year Experience in Bolton Hall. Future plans for more Eagle Landings include a presence in each academic college.
Kenny Christensen, academic specialist and coordinator with the Student Success Center, said Eagle Landings are located in high traffic areas for easier student access. “It’s where the students are,” Christensen said, “and even if they come into the library and don’t need assistance that day, visually our presence is peace of mind because they know we’re here if they need us.”
The College of Business’ Business Academic Success and Excellence (BASE) is set to serve as one of the new Eagle Landings. BASE includes both academic and non-academic services for students to give students in the college a one-stop shop, said Dr Lance Nail, dean of the college.
“The idea behind BASE was to establish an academic success center that also ensured that nonacademic factors such as financial aid would not impede student success,” Nail said. “So a student may come to the BASE for tutoring in Finance or to resolve an issue with their student account. Whatever issue might prevent our students' success may be addressed at the BASE.”
As academic advisor and recruitment and retention coordinator for the College of Business, Marie Baker manages the BASE center, which is located in room 102 of Joseph Greene Hall. It offers student tutorial services for accounting, finance, business statistics and operations management, as well as assistance with writing and speaking projects both at BASE and at Cook Library’s Writing and Speaking Centers.
BASE also provides academic advisement services for freshmen and sophomores Students also have access to computer work stations and preparation guides for the GMAT and Graduate Review Exam (GRE) at the BASE.
‘With BASE, students have a centralized place for academic and non-academic needs,” Baker said.
As much as Eagle Landings provide an invaluable resource of information for students, Kemker believes they also reinforce the university’s great reputation for being a student-friendly university. “Southern Miss students know they can find a friend at an Eagle Landing,” he said.
To learn more, online visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Student-Success-at-Southern-Miss/148643548524201or e-mail questions to Success@USM.EDU.