Helping students succeed

Advisors earn award for developing student success plan

Two campus academic advisors recently received an award for their efforts in developing a plan to assist students with their educational goals.

Deborah Thinnes (left) and Linda Atkinson
Deborah Thinnes (left) and Linda Atkinson

Deborah Thinnes of the College of Business and Linda Atkinson, retention advisor in the Center for Learning and Academic Success, submitted for the Education Advisory Board’s campaign competition a retention plan to highlight Purdue Calumet’s usage of the new Student Success Collaborative (SSC) predictive analytics system.

Online efforts support students

The online platform allows advisors to reach students in a proactive way. More, specifically,  Thinnes and Atkinson determined that some students lack direction in achieving their degree goals.  

Reasons relate to: undeclared majors and students needing to make up deficiencies before being accepted into their degree program. The retention plan includes counseling students where they stand regarding their academic credit and how they can advance their degree objectives.

“We only had weeks to put this (plan for competition) together,” Atkinson said. “But we did do a lot of research.”

Collaboration between departments

Positive educational interventions are important to student success, according to Purdue Calumet Director of Student Success and Transition Dhanfu Elston. He added that advisors are an integral part of university retention efforts.

Elston encouraged Thinnes and Atkinson to enter the SSC competition, as they have worked together before, and both advisors have seen first-hand the need to help students gain direction in educational goals.

“This award shows how our departments can coordinate with each other and work together in a concerted and efficient manner,” Elston said. “The plan Deborah and Linda developed can also serve as a tool for other schools and universities.”

Takeaway for advisors

Thinnes said she and Atkinson last summer had conducted a plan on campus similar to the one submitted for competition. But it was labor intensive, as the logistics of manually bringing students and departments together was time-consuming. The new plan streamlines the timelines.

“When we watched the SSC Webinar (before submitting our plan for competition) it clicked; we saw the importance of what we had been doing,” Thinnes said. “We’ve now expanded on that plan. It’s an on-going project.”