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Old Student Service in a New Place at Fontbonne

For many students, the Kinkel Center for Academic Resources of Fontbonne University has been a source of help and guidance to those who have had trouble with their work, offering easier solutions and plans to make sure everyone comes out on top in terms of grades. This is why the move from the Library building to the Ryan Hall building has caught a lot of people by surprise, as the center is a huge part of the facility and has resulted in the old area where it used to be located to be heavily remodeled. The move also included a name change: the Kinkel Center is now known as the Kinkel Center for Student Success, Advising, and Engagement.

In my interview with Regina Wade Johnson, Academic Resources and Disabilities Coordinator in the Kinkel Center, I ended up finding out more about the reasons behind the move and why it made sense. According to Wade Johnson, prior to its move, the Kinkel Center was the only student service that was located in the Library building. All the other services (undergraduate advising and engagement programs such as the 1G Collective, TELOS honors program, Peace Corps Prep program, and study abroad) were located in Ryan Hall. It was stated that all services wanted to be part of a one-stop shop to make it more convenient for the students when they needed to go and find help.  The one-stop shop was a goal that had been outlined in the university’s most recent strategic plan. All the services together couldn’t fit in the library, and the new arrangement parallels the one-stop shop for financial needs and the registrar’s office on the second floor of Ryan.

Wade Johnson also told me that by moving the Kinkel Center to the Ryan Hall building, the center’s staff will also be able to offer students more help and options. Academic coaching, for instance, is specifically tailored to help students deal with common homework and test studying drills they may want help with, such as managing their time, how to take effective notes, and improved study skills. Amy Simons, director of student success and retention, leads these programs.  Additionally, on October 4 2018, the staff will welcome Matt Nelson, who joins the team as Academic Writing Support Coordinator to support student writing, research, and honors involvement.

The Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising helps students to find their educational goals such as finding a major and create working relationships between students and university faculty.  Director Lee DeLaet and Associate Director Jamaica Harris are also housed in the new Kinkel Center, and two new advisors—Cynthia Critchfield and Kimberly Prather—have been added to the team.

The engagement programs in the new Kinkel Center include organizations like the Peace Corps Prep, study abroad, and the TELOS honors program. Sadie Weiss, Academic Affairs Programs Coordinator, helps to oversee a number of these programs alongside Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Corinne Wohlford.

As many students come to Fontbonne with the future set in their minds, the new services offered might be the key to many future careers and overall success. According to Wade Johnson, the move was made for the better in terms of both the students and the staff, as changing buildings will make it much easier to help to those struggling with their academic work. From the reception of the move based on the first two weeks of the semester, things have indeed turned out for the better.

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