March 19, 2014

Students benefit from expanded service hours

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale students now have additional opportunities to receive key services thanks to extended hours for select offices on campus. 

Several offices in the Student Services Building will be open until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, rather than the 4:30 p.m. closing for many other offices on campus. First-Year advisement, financial aid, registrar, and undergraduate admissions are offering extended hours. 

First-Year Advisement is the most critical of these extended hours, according to John Nicklow, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.  The unit’s integral affiliation with University College, Saluki Cares, and other resources means that first-year freshmen also have access to a network of support options. 

“The first year at a university can often set the tone for a student’s college career,” Nicklow said. “We want to be certain first year students have every opportunity to get the academic and co-curricular advising they need to be successful.” 

The First-Year Advisement program offers advisement to all students new to SIU in one central location. The professional academic advisers provide comprehensive support services necessary for new college students -- both with declared and undeclared majors -- to begin building successful academic careers. 

Career advisement is an early part of the students’ conversation.  This benefits students who have declared a major and those still examining major and career options -- particularly in helping them stay on track to graduate in four years.  Students with declared majors can avoid late-in-the-game major-changing as advisers offer guidance on academic expectations for, and career paths from, different majors.  Similarly, advisers can be particularly helpful to students who decide to not declare a major as a freshman and want to explore their career aspirations and aptitude before choosing a major course of study. First-Year advisers help these students stay on track by providing guidance to students who are exploring different majors and helping students meet their core curriculum requirements with the academic standing they will need for their selected major.           

Nicklow noted that first year students often need advisement in several areas -- not just academic -- in order to achieve their full potentials. 

“They need help, not just with selecting a major that provides the best path for their academic goals, but they also need to know about resources available to help them succeed, opportunities for academic and personal growth, and options for making connections and building relationships with fellow students, and with faculty mentors,” he said. 

With its sharpened focus on retention and the first year experience, extending hours for academic advisement to those students was a natural decision, Nicklow said. 

The Student Services Building brings together the university’s key student services in one location to provide seamless, one-stop service.  While the building is an impressive addition to campus, the energy efficient features incorporated into its construction enhance its beauty.  The building stands in harmony with SIU’s mission of responsible cultivation of a new generation of leaders by improving access to a nationally ranked university for all students who want to learn.