The Daily Gamecock

Funding increases for Student Success Center

Boost follows more use of Student Success Center, merger with ACE program Read More


The Student Success Center (SSC) has received a "significant increase" in funding after the center saw an increase in use, according to Eric Moschella, its director.

Now, it'll work with $500,000 each year. Demand increased last year, and it merged with the ACE academic success coaching program.

That, Moschella said, presented a need to expand the scale of both centers' services.

"The reason for [the merger] was to create sort of a one-stop shop for academic and student success initiatives," Moschella said. "When we combined centers, the scale of everything just really grew, and that's exciting."

Much of the SSC's operating budget will go toward personnel funding, allowing the center to hire more staff members and expand some of its most important programs, such as Supplemental Instruction (SI) and ACE coaching.

Stacey Bradley, Student Affairs' associate vice president for administration, said expanding support for these services is important for student success.

"The critical nature of follow-up opportunities, the need to supervise and strategically manage the call center and the new early intervention partnership with [University 101] and [English 101] require an adequate level of support," Bradley wrote in an email response.

New full-time positions are being added to meet needs in cross-campus advising, online learning, early intervention and at-risk services, Moschella said.

The center is also in the process of selecting two new ACE coaches and plans to expand its SI program from 66 class sections to 99, requiring an increase in the number of student instructors, according to Moschella.

"Adding sections to expand SI to scale is critical to our successful retention efforts," Bradley wrote.

Part of the SSC budget will also go toward analysis software that will help the center and professors know when a student is in academic danger and setting up equipment infrastructure in the call center for reaching out to students, Moschella said.

In addition to the $500,000 it receives each year, the SSC has received a one-time grant of $90,000 to set up an online academic support system, which will include services like academic tutoring and financial literacy consulting via the Internet.

That cash will go toward equipment, software and licensing for the system, as well as personnel support to coordinate the program, Moschella said. The online academic support system is important for the SSC's goal of meeting
a variety of student needs in a variety of formats, he said.

"An online academic support presence is critical," Bradley wrote, "as more students are taking evening classes, enrolling in distance education through the Palmetto College and living off-campus."

That, she wrote, makes it more difficult to attend SI sessions, tutoring appointments and other in-person programs.

The goal of all the SSC's services and resources is to help students learn more effectively and efficiently, Moschella said.

"We don't want to just cater to students that are having problems because most of our students aren't having problems. We want to work with all students on becoming more efficient, more effective learners," Moschella said. "Everything we do here is designed to help students progress toward their degree quicker."

The SSC served about 8,000 to 9,000 individual students last year during some 51,000 visits or contacts, Moschella said.

Cross-campus advising and ACE coaching each scheduled more than 1,200 appointments in Fall 2011, a 78-percent increase since Fall 2009 for ACE and a 146-percent increase since Fall 2010 for cross-campus advising, according to Bradley.

But the center hopes to keep expanding and to improve its student-based programs and overall efficiency and ultimately, Moschella hopes, become the first place students go for academic support and coaching.

"Our ultimate goal is to integrate what we do into the student culture at USC," Moschella said.

News Editor Thad Moore contributed reporting.