November 07, 2013
Long-time staff member a valuable resource for students
Last month’s opening of our Student Services Building has been one of the highlights of an exciting fall semester at SIU. The building, paid for by students, creates a beautiful new front door to the campus and reflects our commitment to their success.
The building’s design encourages greater collaboration among staff as they meet the needs of our students. Key services are now in one location – including undergraduate admissions, University College, financial aid, registrar, bursar, and the Graduate School, with other offices moving there in the weeks ahead. When all the moves are complete, the building will house 19 departments and more than 400 staff. Some of those departments were spread out over campus. Others had been housed in Woody Hall.
Jim Carl, associate director of undergraduate admissions, knows Woody Hall inside and out. It opened in 1953 as SIU’s first women’s dormitory and was converted to offices in 1968. A two-degree graduate of SIU, Jim learned his way around it as a student beginning in 1977. And as the longest-serving employee in Woody Hall -- 29 years – Jim was familiar with its many limitations, including the heating and cooling systems, technology, mechanical systems, and the challenges of finding your way around. I can attest to that.
During his career in Woody Hall, Jim worked in many of the offices associated with admissions and enrollment management, including records, tuition and fees, and the registrar’s office. His current responsibilities include monitoring and reporting critical enrollment data each week to me and other members of our leadership team. The detail he shares about student applications and registrations for the approaching semester helps us assess trends in all of our colleges and additional steps we need to take to continue building enrollment.
His extensive experience allows Jim to see the big picture, and that makes him a valuable resource for students. He appreciates opportunities to counsel students, explaining, for example, how a decision to drop a class could affect their financial aid, or helping them work through issues with class registration or eligibility for graduation.
“Having been in all these different functions, I know what makes it all work,” he said. “I have had opportunities to figure things out so we can help students. There’s a teaching moment to a lot of what we do, explaining to students how things fit together. The problem-solving is the most satisfying part of what I do.”
Like all of us, Jim also knows that appearances do matter to prospective students and their families. With its advancing age, Woody Hall did not create a positive first impression.
“There were times that I would be really embarrassed taking a family from one part of the building to another,” Jim said. “There was no way to hide what it looked like.”
That is no longer an issue. I like to say that the Student Services Building has a real “wow” factor. And while they may be in a new building, what has not changed is Jim’s commitment and that of his fellow staff members to helping our students realize their dreams.