Path to Progress
by Drew Ruble
Sr. Editor University Publications
The recent opening of MTSU’s $16 million Student Services and Admissions Center is the latest example of the University’s emphasis on student success and its focus on keeping students enrolled and on track toward graduation.
The 58,000-square-foot facility is connected by a walking bridge to the Student Union Building and houses all functions related to admissions, records and enrollment, financial aid, scheduling, and the Bursar’s Office. Having one location for all these services is a new experience for students, who previously had to go to several different offices spread around campus to handle some of their most pressing concerns. The MT One Stop, a comprehensive student assistance center, meets and exceeds all enrollment management needs.
The combination of a new building and the revamping of the University’s service model for enrollment management has significantly decreased frustration and allowed students to sharpen their focus on academic achievement.
Gone are the days when students had to seek help from a variety of far-flung departments and offices and then figure out for themselves how to move forward. Now, MTSU staff members are often able to translate routine enrollment questions and concerns into opportunities to actively engage students in broader issues related to academic success and graduation. It’s a whole new way of looking at a very common set of problems that may have previously led to missed opportunities to help students who are unsure, confused, looking for help, or facing big decisions.
Debra Sells, vice president for Student Affairs and vice provost for Enrollment and Academic Services, says the overall program is designed to make being enrolled at MTSU easier, more convenient, and barrier-free. “Every interaction we have with the student around issues related to financial aid or enrollment can be an opportunity to retain the student and support his or her broader academic success,” Sells says. “From the student’s point of view, the functions of these offices need to coordinate seamlessly to prevent barriers to ongoing registration, enrollment, and payment.”
The design of the building and the concept behind MT One Stop are aligned with the Complete College Tennessee Act, which requires state appropriations to be based on retention and graduation rates, not enrollment. This bold new approach to providing personal, comprehensive, and coordinated enrollment services to students is in step with Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative, aimed at raising the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by 2025.
MTSU is determined to offer students every opportunity to succeed and to make those opportunities easy to find in one central location: MT One Stop.