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University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences adds student success coordinators to enhance advising, resources for new, transfer students

By Dave Larsen

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences expanded its capacity to serve transfer and Discover Arts and Science students with the addition of two student success coordinators. The new staff members will provide students with faster and more consistent access to academic advising and campus resources, including medical and mental health services and tutoring and career services support.

University alumnus Robert “Bobby” Beebe ’15 coordinates student success services related to College curriculum and transfer students. He is the primary contact for current students in the UD Sinclair Academy — which provides more than 70 bachelor’s degree pathways from Sinclair Community College’s associate degrees — as well as prospective transfer students from other institutions.

Holly Bruner coordinates student success services for the College’s assistant deans and faculty advisors. She will build schedules for and advise students in the University’s FIRST (Fully Integrated Resource, Support and Transition) program, which provides students with a structured transition to college, including an academic support package integrated into their regular schedule of courses.

In addition, Beebe and Bruner will each teach a course in the Discover Arts or Discover Sciences programs, which allow students to explore the College’s academic programs before finalizing a major.

“By having these positions, we are able to better support our introduction to the University courses, do more intentional training for our teaching assistants for those classes and provide even more training for our advisors,” said Danielle Poe, College associate dean for curriculum and academic outcomes.

The coordinators bring professional expertise and new insights and perspectives to the College. Most recently, Beebe served as integrated advising coach at Warren Wilson College, a private liberal arts college in Asheville, N.C. Bruner was area coordinator for university housing at the University of South Carolina, a public research university in Columbia, S.C.

Beebe said his experience developing Lessons in Navigating College, a first-year experience program at Warren Wilson College, helped him develop the leadership skills to excel in his new role at the University of Dayton.

“Through this work, I gained experience in creating programming and developing a student success-centered curriculum for first-year students, including first-year workbooks, a series of workshops and information sessions, and supervising and training a team of student mentors who work with students to be successful in their transition to college,” Beebe said. “My leadership on this project showed some direct impact on student success and retention, engaging more than 85% of students in programs that help them start to build a pathway toward graduation.”

For the last four years, Bruner instructed University 101, a first-year seminar course at the University of South Carolina that helps students transition into collegiate courses and life. She also consulted with students who were referred by faculty because of concerns about their academic performance.

“My passion for supporting students through academic need has allowed me to deepen my focus when implementing and assessing a residential curriculum and my collaborations with faculty and the South Carolina Honors College,” Bruner said. “I have witnessed first-hand and gained a greater appreciation of the important role that academic advisors play in students’ pursuits and persistence through graduation.”

Beebe and Bruner serve on the University Advisory Council. Beebe also is a member of the University’s student success and persistence team project group.

Beebe holds a master’s degree in rhetoric and writing from the University of Findlay, Ohio, and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Dayton. Bruner holds a master’s in higher education and student affairs from the University of South Carolina, and a bachelor’s in speech and organizational communication from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

Poe said the new coordinators will enable the College to better serve students identified as needing assistance through the student success network, an early alert and advising tool that allows faculty to notify advisors and support offices when they have a concern about a student, enabling students to receive assistance in a timely and effective manner.

“Now that we have two additional people to help with that work, our response time should be much quicker, which will help improve retention and success rates for our students,” she said.

For more information, visit the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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