December 7, 2021

Cornell College has opened a new office with six full-time employees dedicated to current students and their success.

Pictured from left to right: Brooke Poulsen, Madison Duker, Carlos Nelson, Chelsea Plunkett and Brandi Shanata. (not pictured: Amy Ropas)

The Student Success Center is located on the third floor of Law Hall, and those who work there will spend their time connecting students to whatever support or resources they need on campus or off campus.

“This is a bold step for us,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Gwen Shemek Tishler. “We’ve seen other schools add student success officers. We’re not just adding one job to focus on supporting our students, we’re adding six.”

The center will consist of the Student Success Manager, the Student Success Associate Director, the Academic Support Coordinator, the Student Sports Success Coordinator, the First Year Experience and Parent Communication Coordinator, and the Disability Services Coordinator. Three of the six positions are new to college, while there have been positions located elsewhere on campus that will join the Student Success Team. There are many familiar faces on the team.

This will be the main office for all students, but will especially help first and second year students of college who are learning on campus and who are working their way up. It’s difficult to move to a new location and adjust to the new academic calendar, says the center’s new director, Brooke Paulsen, and this office will help answer any questions.

“The Student Success Center will be a connecting space for students—whether they are struggling in class, not sure how to find their social place here, or doing well but want to do more to thrive during their college experience,” Paulsen said. “We will help them tap into services and resources. that can help them achieve those goals.”

Schimek-Tischler said she knows we need to make some changes and add this six-person office to support our students after a difficult year last year.

“After a year of being infected with COVID and knowing that our students are GenZ, they have different needs than the students did five to 10 years ago,” Schimek-Tischler said. “We are investing in the future of our students who receive a great education according to the block plan. This will be a place for students who need advice, guidance or just someone to talk to about their future.”

This Student Success Center is important to help achieve the larger goal of making some students’ experiences at Cornell positive and keeping the institution strong.

“We are delighted to welcome a large new class of Cornell students this year, and acknowledge that it was a difficult year last year for our returning sophomores,” said College Associate Dean Craig Teague. A place where staff meet every student wherever they are on their educational journey. We want students to know how much we are doing to support them, and this center is really going to provide all of those resources.”

The Student Success Center is open from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. Students can stop at any time.