'Go above and beyond': Lessons learned from SJC's student services
Traditionally, colleges would have a limitation — guided with strict guidelines — on what their student services can do. But as the world of college education evolves and improves, some colleges would dare to venture further from their traditional roles.
Among the innovators, the student support services at San Jacinto College would be one of them. In addition to supporting the students' academic endeavors, the department is also offering students genuine services relating to their mental health and socio-economic issues.
SJC's Dean of Student Support Services, Tanesha Antoine, has managed to combine educational counseling, planning, student engagement, and accessibility services under the same umbrella. This approach allows each of these sub-departments to work together more effectively while focusing on their individual objectives to better serve students.
"Our goal is to be more intentional with each student," said Antoine. "Pulling each of these areas out and aligning them with accessibility services counselors is going to open up a lot of opportunities to follow up personally with each student and make sure they are connecting with the resources we provide."
Students are introduced to SJC's Student Support Services department in several ways, either through themselves, staff or faculty referral, or for students who prefer not to talk— a survey that will help the department to identify a student's food or housing insecurity.
“We could just give a student a phone number and send them on their way, but if we help them make the call and make sure they connect with the right people it makes a big difference,” said Antoine. “Sometimes, once a need is identified, the need changes, because life changes. It is important to us to follow up with students to see how they are faring and if their needs have changed not only through the semester but throughout their [academic] journey... We know sometimes life outside of the classroom can impact success, and we are here to ease those worries.”