This archived article was written by: Katie Felice
Shanny Wilson has worked full time at Utah State University Eastern since 2000. After spending nine of those 14 ½ years working as the Director of Academic Advising, Wilson has accepted a new position as the institutions Director of Retention & First Year Experience. “I was asked by the Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services if I would be interested in this new position and I said yes,” Wilson stated.
“It has been an exciting experience so far, I have really been able to utilize my creative side and come up with some new ideas,” she explains. “I loved working in advising and I miss it, but this was a good move. I plan to make a difference in the lives of our students.”
Although this position change occurred very recently, Wilson has many goals and ambitions she plans to address in this new position. Many ideas she has come up with are already being put into action.
One project she currently has in progress is developing a new student leadership program. Two Student Success Mentors have just been chosen for the current spring semester and Wilson hopes to have at least ten or more student mentors chosen for next fall and spring semesters. These students will be participating in College Success Skills courses, assisting the instructors and reaching out to students who may be struggling academically, providing them with help and assistance.
To help students keep up in their courses and maintain their academic success, a new Academic Alert system is strongly being considered. This alert system that Wilson is looking at will track students who are struggling and get them the help they need. If this system is adopted, faculty will be able to go online and submit information that will be sent straight to Wilson, then she and others will reach out to the students one-on-one and help them get back on track.
One of her biggest plans for the next school year is to offer more sections of College Success Skills with hopes to eventually make that a mandatory class for new students to take. This is a study skills class where students will be taught how to succeed in college by teaching them a variety of study techniques, and how to be better prepared for college. Resources, career exploration, time management, diversity, memory and stress are some of the subjects covered in the class.
“I think is a huge retention tool. I also think it will make a positive impact.,” Wilson said of the idea of offering more sections of Student Success Skills.
When it comes to first year experience (FYE), Wilson has already begun creating a first year checklist. This checklist will provide a step by step ‘enrollment’ list for new students to use to simplify what they need to accomplish to become USUE students, and what to do once they are enrolled.
Wilson’s other responsibility is the Welcoming Weekend event which is a 2 day college ready experience for new students to get familiar with USUE. This event will take place in August, the weekend before fall semester begins.
Wilson states, “My goal is to help students transition into college and to ensure they have a good first year experience by helping them get in contact with resources, offering more College Success Skills and continue offering quality Student Success Workshops and programs.