New approach 'empower students' - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

New approach 'empower students'

Pima campuses dedicate centers

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Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:21 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Pima Community College has opened and dedicated new student services centers on all six of its campuses, among them the Northwest Campus on Shannon Road.

Each center "brings together the diverse set of student services," a release said, among them admissions and registration, testing and assessments, financial aid and other supports. The model "delivers services in an efficient and seamless manner, empowering students to take full advantage of the supports available to them."

"It's really trying to empower students," said Jerry Haynes, vice president for student development at Pima's Northwest Campus. "The initial response seems to be very positive." Students feel like "it's helpful," walking away with "questions answered," and realizing "they're empowered, at least just a little bit. We're helping students develop their skills."

Student services are now "consolidated in one location, and it's the same at every campus," Haynes said. "It's really pulled all six campuses together."

The Northwest Campus student services center has 21 self-service computer work stations, and immediately students are "jumping on the self-help stations," Haynes said. "I think it's getting use."

They can also go online at home, at the library, or wherever they have internet access to perform the financial aid, application, course registration and other clerical aspects of higher education.

"It's not bound by space," nor by campus or college, Haynes observed.

At Northwest, Pima staff has been "working diligently to learn admissions, financial aid" and other services offered within the department. "The change, they're now teaching students how to access that information."

Pima has also created an intranet system, allowing staff to access internal resources. "It's focused on staff training," Haynes said. "It's more efficient. We're trying to use technology as best we can."

Staff has offices within the center. Now, staff members leave those offices to meet with students in a central space equipped with five desks and computers. "It's decreased a lot of wait time," Haynes said.

In meetings with students, the approach is "'let me show you how you can do this,'" Haynes said.

"We can make sure students aren't intimidated," Haynes said. "It's all about the students."

The student services center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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