For students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the new Student Excellence Collaborative (SEC) in Flinn Hall will serve as a one-stop shop for information and resources related to housing, advising, study abroad, internships, career goals, scholarships and research opportunities.
“We want our students to have timely advice to take advantage of all the other resources on campus,” said Loren Knapp, associate dean for enrollment management, advising and retention for the College of Arts and Sciences.
With a focus on advising, the SEC helps students to progress and see through their majors in a timely fashion while also providing extra support for first generation students to reach their potential academic success.
The SEC is open to more than 8,000 students in any of the 46 College of Arts and Sciences majors, as well as students looking to change their majors into the college. Planning for the initiative began at the end of last semester.
Because this semester is the first semester of the SEC, faculty in Flinn Hall are looking for student feedback to help the initiative grow to help the students as well as possible.
”Our goal is to prepare our students as best we can to be the good citizens that we know they will be, to have the jobs that they would like and be successful as people,” Knapp said.
In addition to career help, the SEC provides assistance with financial aid. The SEC offers a scholarship kiosk designed to help students connect with many scholarships, some of which haven't been applied for, and students can apply right on the spot.
“Our students, they trust us,” Jodi Salter said. “They’ve often come to us because they needed to put all of the answers they got into one cohesive package.”
Salter is the director of experiential learning and community engagement for the College of Arts and Sciences.
The SEC plans to partner with the career center and host visits from professionals.
Some students are excited for all the resources to be in one place, especially Natalie Lewis, a second-year criminal justice student.
“I’m going into Army ROTC. It’s nice to have a place where I can go to get help for part-time jobs or summer internships before I graduate and move on to a career in the army,” Lewis said. “So it’s nice to have resources that focus on both smaller part-time jobs as well as things people can do outside of college when they graduate.”
Fourth-year global studies and French student Allison Royer said she thinks she can use the SEC to help her find a career or continue her education.
“It’s student-based, where they can feel comfortable coming into the College of Arts and Sciences and getting their needs met,” Linda Taylor, fourth-year art studio student, said.
Some advisors like to keep in touch with their students beyond the four years they study at USC and want to see their accomplishments. By providing more services all under one roof, the advisors hope to be an even bigger part of the four years that shape students’ futures.
“There is a great deal of excitement when [students] realize that they are doing the things that they want to do,” Knapp said. “That person comes in, and we send that person out with all the experiences that we possibly can to make their life as interesting [as we can].”
During Family Weekend, the SEC will have an open house on that Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Flinn Hall near the Horseshoe.
This story was updated on August 27, 2019 at 2:40 p.m. to correct "Student Enrichment Center" to "Student Excellence Collaborative."