Albany State University to focus on enhancing the student experience

ALBANY, GA - Albany State University (ASU) will begin implementing strategies to improve and enhance the student experience, from the first year at Albany State to graduation. ASU leadership is acting on recommendations brought forth by the Student Engagement Experience Task Force, which was comprised of ASU students.

In November 2017, interim president Marion Fedrick and the Albany State transition team formed the student-led task force to conduct an in-depth examination of the student experience. The group’s purpose was to provide recommendations to improve student retention and graduation based on student feedback.

“Our students stepped up, made this task force a priority and identified areas where ASU will work to immediately improve the student experience,” said Fedrick. “Our students gave us clear insight and identified challenges and opportunities. We take these findings and recommendations seriously and are grateful for the work of these dedicated and passionate students.”

ASU’s student experience action plan focuses on three key areas:

First-Year Experience

  • Student Programming: Establish a student programming group that would be led by Student Affairs. The group would plan and promote events for students.
  • Housing: A plan for training and development for staff and resident assistants. Also, the development of programming specifically for housing students focused on academic success, persistence and retention.

Student Engagement for Success

  • Work Study Opportunities: Review and increase Federal Work Study opportunities and effectively communicate opportunities to students.
  • Internship Opportunities: Identify internship, volunteer and community service opportunities to prepare students with soft skills and provide real-world work experience before graduation.

Student Support Services (orientation, advising, registration)

  • Comprehensive review of enrollment services: Conduct a comprehensive review of services planned for the One-Stop-Shop, including a detailed plan for staff training and operation.
  • Customer Service: Focus on improved customer service that would include mandatory service training and functional cross-training for staff. Also, develop a customer service process for all areas, including academic affairs, enrollment management, business services and academic advising.
  • Self-Service Tools: Expedite implementation of Degree Works and other student self-service tools throughout the enrollment process.

Students also addressed the need for experienced leadership and staff. In January, ASU announced the appointment of Aaron “Chip” Reese, interim vice president of student affairs and enrollment management. He is tasked with working closely with students to ensure they have the services and support to be successful, as well as ensure that the division is consistently improving operations and customer service.

Another recommendation is to maintain the legacy of ASU’s founder Joseph Holley and the history of the former Darton State College. The university will identify viable ways to continue to honor the university’s history and legacy.

Recommendation process:

Two focus groups were held; one with the student task force and another consisting of a diverse group of students, including 2-year, 4-year, commuter, international and non-traditional students.

The task force also conducted a campus-wide survey to gather additional feedback from students.

In December 2017, the task force met with Fedrick and university leadership to present their report and recommendations.

“Reviewing academic support services, enrollment services, and student engagement opportunities is critical for the success of all current and future ASU students,” said Andre Armour, president of the Student Government Association and member of the task force.

Members of the task force included student leaders from across campus, including:

  • Andre Armour, president, Student Government Association
  • Charles L. Durrah, vice president - east campus, Student Government Association
  • Wanesia P. Francis, Ms. ASU
  • Santo E. Nina, Mr. ASU

The task force was chaired by Dr. Joyce Jones, vice chancellor for student affairs at the University System of Georgia, and Dr. Scot Lingrell, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at the University of West Georgia.

The full report can be downloaded here: Student Engagement Experience Task Force Recommendations.

ASU will provide updates regarding the student experience initiative over the spring semester.


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