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UMPI hosts open house, ribbon cutting for new Center for Student Success

Tuesday, 04 February 2014

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The University of Maine at Presque Isle will celebrate the establishment of the newly created Center for Student Success with an open house on Friday, Feb. 7, from Noon to 1 p.m. in the South Hall Lobby. A ribbon cutting will take place at 12:30 p.m. during the open house. The public is invited to attend, and to enjoy light refreshments and tours of the new space during this free event.

UMPI's new Center for Student Success is located on the first floor of South Hall, providing students with a one-stop area for many offices and services focused on their needs and their educational success.

"We're very excited to be hosting the grand opening for our new Center for Student Success," James Stepp, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said. "Not only will this center act as a one-stop location for most of the student services a student will need, but also the staff working in the reception area will be able to assist students in setting up meetings and leading them to other offices in the Center or throughout campus. If the services needed are not located on the first floor of South Hall, our friendly staff will help students find the correct location."

The Center for Student Success was an outgrowth of the Project Compass initiative, which called for the design of a comprehensive center for student, staff and faculty to share and learn together. Project Compass, aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented populations graduating with four-year degrees, was funded through a five-year Nellie Mae Education Foundation grant sponsored by the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. The Center for Teaching and Learning suggested by the Project Compass initiative was officially proposed in a report to academic leadership in April 2012.

Since then, the project has evolved, with officials creating a two-phase plan for making the center a reality. For phase one of the project, the Center for Student Success was created to focus specifically on students' needs and bringing student-focused services together in one place.

Construction on phase one began during the summer of 2012 and continued through 2013. Officials moved as many student services to the first floor of South Hall as possible, allowing the Center for Student Success to be robust in its offerings. This new area contains the following services and offices: Career Preparation and Employer Relations, Counseling Services, Disability Services, Equal Employment Office, International Student Services, Mentoring, National Student Exchange, Student Support Services, Tutoring, and the Writing Center.

New equipment and furnishings were provided through a UMS Strategic Initiative Fund (SIF) grant. The new layout of the area includes a more open tutoring and Writing Center area, a new front desk, and a different style of tables, chairs, and waiting area furniture. Also created were more testing areas and a media room, which will permit teams of students to work more collaboratively through the use of technology. The media room also makes it easier to provide tutoring and Writing Center assistance at a distance through the use of Skype and other media opportunities.

With the new Center for Student Success officially in place, phase two of the project is expected to begin within the next year. For phase two, the Center for Innovative Learning will be established. The focus of this center will be to support faculty and staff use of proficiency-based and customized learning, technology innovation, technology enhanced pedagogy, and student leadership.

"The Center for Student Success and the Center for Innovative Learning will help enhance learning on the UMPI campus," Stepp said. "Combined, these centers will aid in the University's movement to competency based, experiential learning."

For more information about the open house, or the new Center for Student Success, please call Leslie Williams at 768-9732.