As members of the Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education, we have seen a steady increase in the number of Convention presentations related to support services. With no direct career paths for professionals to follow, the field of academic support can be tricky to navigate. Those in the field represent a collection of dedicated people who work to not only help students who may otherwise fall through the academic cracks, but also to help those students who want to achieve at a higher level.
According to a 2014 report by the Institute of Education Sciences, post-secondary enrollment rose by 45% from 1997-2011 and is expected to increase another 14% by 2022. With the push by the Obama Administration to increase the number of college graduates by 2020 and the shrinking budgets of many institutions, student recruitment and retention to graduation are important. Academic support initiatives are being viewed as critical resources by many senior level academic administrators. The concept of the traditional, 18-22 year old college student is no longer the norm across all institutions. This presents new challenges and opportunities for college educators and administrators. Today’s institutions are working with students of all ages, races and orientations. Support services such as TRIO programs, academic advising and tutoring programs are only a few examples of programs that can help a
diverse student population achieve success and progress toward graduation. This monograph contains a small collection of articles that touch on specific student populations, program assessment and academic advising. While we were not able to capture every program or conversation related to student support services during Convention, we hope this monograph provides a flavor of the issues faced by college educators on a day-to-day basis.
Rebecca S. Shepherd, Ph.D. James D. Breslin, Ph.D.
United States Naval Academy Bellarmine University
CASHE Chair, 2012-2014 CASHE Chair, 2014-2016