The Post: Ohio University hires seven new academic success advisors in 2014-2015

Ohio University is offering undergraduates the assistance of seven recently trained advisors to boost retention rates.

The new employees, dubbed academic success advisors, will function as a resource for first- and second-year students, helping them with tasks such as choosing majors and selecting classes.

“We know from the literature on student retention that high quality advising helps students succeed,” said Elizabeth Sayrs, vice provost for undergraduate education, in an email. “And this initiative is one way to help support even more high quality advising across campus.”

Coordinated through the Allen Student Advising Center, the additional advisors will be funded centrally by the university for its first three years and be supported by the individual colleges after that.

Training began for these appointees in Baker University Center over winter break.

The advisors’ training included meeting with administrators, reviewing university resources and learning which classes are available through their colleges.

They started at the beginning of Spring Semester.

“All of the student success advisors are excellent advisors, and have a strong interest and ability in collaborating across campus to develop targeted programs to help students succeed,” Sayrs said.

Many of the academic success advisors selected for their respective colleges had expertise in both the college’s field of study and academic advising.

“The advisors who were chosen not only were excellent academic advisors, but also were selected because their experiences and interests were consistent with the specific needs of the college they would be working with,” said Jennifer Klein, assistant dean for persistence and student success, in an email.

Lourdes Giordani, academic success advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences, currently assists students in the Biological Studies program.

Before coming to OU, she spent her undergraduate and graduate years studying biological studies and advising students within the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University.

“It’s not only interesting, but it engages more of your creativity when you’re part of a project that’s beginning,” Giordani said. “There’s a thinking stage there that’s really interesting. It’s exciting.”

Giordani said she hopes to assist OU students in their academic careers as well as their mental and social well-being.

“We’re trying to bridge both worlds, addressing academics but also making sure that the other piece of the equation is taken care of, as well,” Giordani said.

Keeping underclassmen students in college is one of Giordani’s top priorities.

“What I certainly don’t want to see is a student to feel that they’re discouraged and they drop out, and they go nowhere,” Giordani said. “If they decide to follow a different path, at least they obtain a solid undergraduate education, and they can be productive citizens out there.”

This story also appears on The Post