As registration for spring semester classes and fall semester finals near, services on the NSU Natchitoches campus gear up to provide aid to students during a crucial period of the academic year.
Academic advising is an integral part of the University Studies 1000 course that students are required to take as freshmen. In response to NSU’s increased enrollment, the course sections offered increased to 45 sections on the Natchitoches campus and 11 sections for satellite and internet students.
“We have more sessions of University Studies 1000 in the fall semester than we ever have,” said Steve Hicks, executive director of Academic Advising Services and steward of UNIV 1000 curriculum.
Hicks also said students must show proof of registration and advising as one of their final assignments for the UNIV 1000 course.
“After Thanksgiving break, [students] have finals on their brain… If we have that many students wait until January [to register for classes], it makes the administration weary,” he said.
Certain sections may be more tailored toward certain areas such as career exploration; the department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies, for example, opted to create their own University Studies section specific to English majors.
“The increase [in enrollment] has helped us… understand that we’re a community,” Dr. Jim Mischler said regarding the English-specific section. “It’s easier just to connect with people when they’re around.”
Other departments such as the Louisiana Scholars’ College also have their own version of the UNIV 1000 course.
While most students meet with faculty advisors in their respective departments, some students meet with faculty in Academic Advising Services.
“We work with virtually any student who will come through… But our forte is really sort of threefold,” Hicks said.
He explained Academic Advising Services focuses on “exploratory” students who have not declared a major, students interested in the bachelor of general studies and pre-clinical nursing students on the Natchitoches campus.
Spring registration begins Nov. 6 through my.nsula.edu. The full registration schedule can be found online at nsula.edu
Academic Success Center
The Academic Success Center is another tool available to students seeking help; it caters to students who want tutoring and extra help with their classes, both in person and online via WebEx. The center, which was created during the summer of 2015 and moved to Watson Memorial Library in spring 2016, has 13 tutors and five graduate assistants available by appointment.
“We went from trying to emphasize all of the classes to emphasizing those freshman and sophomore foundation classes so students can be successful in those junior and senior classes [later],” said Ashley Briggs, director of the Academic Success Center. “We [also offer] writing editing, and we do that at both the graduate and undergraduate level… simply because we don’t have a writing center.”
Briggs explained that she enjoys working with and helping undergraduate students as much as possible – one reason she loves her job so much.
“When people ask, ‘What is the academic success center?’ I say ‘tutoring,'” she said. “It’s like an iceberg – [tutoring] is the tip, and I’m not going to explain what’s under the water because it [can get] very confusing.”
The center additionally hosts Student Success Workshops throughout the academic year; the next scheduled workshop, “What Can I Do With This Major? Focus: Psychology,” will be held Nov. 1 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Watson Library Instruction Lab.