New Compass to help guide Oswego students

looking at filesSUNY Oswego’s new Compass in the Campus Center brings together what used to be six offices with a goal of helping students better navigate their college experiences.

The component offices of the Compass—Student Advisement, Career Services, Experience-Based Education, Community Service and Service Learning, First-Year Programs and Transfer Services—were previously scattered in three buildings.

“Now we have a collaborative location dedicated to student success, entering, going through college and leaving,” said Bob Casper, director of career services at SUNY Oswego. “The one thing that resonated with everyone is how students could get help here every step of their college experience.”

The renovated setup is a “pretty unique approach” and “pretty innovative” at the college level, said Kathy Evans, associate dean of students and director of the Student Advisement Center. “We wanted to position ourselves as a comprehensive educational and career planning center,” she explained.

“The moment a student says, ‘Yes, I’m coming to Oswego,’ we’re communicating with them,” Evans said. Students then move through a continuum that includes orientation and first-year programs to internships and career planning.

A staff of 15 student “navigators” at the Compass will prove beneficial in providing direction and guidance to peers, Evans said.

“We expect that we are going to develop new programs and new initiatives as a result of being all together,” she said.

Christopher Hockey, the transfer services coordinator, said his office being on the sixth floor of Culkin Hall meant it was out of the flow for incoming transfers. Now, he said, the convenience is apparent.

“I can reference a student here to Career Services to start working on their resume, or to Experience-Based Education for internship opportunities,” Hockey said. “It helps get students involved in all the other things that will help them.”

The Compass also fits with other components of the Campus Center complex. Having the Compass in a busy traffic area—near student activities spaces, classrooms and academic offices—will naturally raise awareness of its offerings. Casper said his office often works with Continuing Education, which used to mean sending students way across campus; now that office will sit across the hall.

To better serve students, including non-traditional ones, the Compass will remain open until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Bringing the offices together has helped staff and students learn more about what the other programs do, Evans said, and reinforced the teamwork required to serve students.

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PHOTO CAPTION: New direction—Kathy Evans, associate dean of students at SUNY Oswego, sifts through Student Advisement Center files moved from the old office in Culkin Hall to new space in the Compass in the Campus Center. The Compass combines what used to be six offices—Student Advisement, Career Services, Experience-Based Education, Community Service and Service Learning, First-Year Programs and Transfer Services—into one location geared toward guiding student success.

(Posted: Aug 22, 2007)