Navigator…your personal guide to success!

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We all know having directions, a map, GPS, or even Siri can help us make better decisions and reach our destinations faster. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a personal assistant to help you navigate college?

In October 2014, State Fair Community College launched the Student Success navigator program to do just that!

Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC president, says the new program is designed to provide each student with a navigator who will be that student’s “personal guide to success.”

“Navigators advise students, help them stay on course and assist them with issues that could cause unexpected detours along the way,” says Anderson. “Our goal is to provide educational and personal support for all SFCC students. I’m proud to say our Board of Trustees supports this initiative.”

Each SFCC student is assigned a navigator to work with one-on-one. They help students create an educational plan, stay on course and deal with obstacles along the way. Navigators team up with faculty advisors and other staff to give students guidance and answer questions like, “Which program is right for me?” “What classes should I take?” “Where can I get help if I need it?” “I have questions about financial aid … help!”

Katrina Grunzinger, director of the Student Success and Retention office through which the navigators work, and Crissina Kemp, coordinator of Retention Services, along with 14 trained navigators and other staff and faculty work with new and current students on all campuses.

“This program changes the way we support students by providing more staff dedicated to helping students achieve their educational goals,” says Grunzinger. “The navigators are well trained to provide academic planning, program specific advising and campus and community resources.”

First-year student Erica Kerby says the navigator program has been a success.

“I love the fact that my navigator knows about my major, which makes signing up for classes so much easier,” says Kerby. “I feel comfortable asking her questions, and I like having someone by my side to help me reach my goal of graduating.”

LeeAnna Henry, an SFCC-Clinton student, has similar thoughts about having her own navigator.

“Honestly, without my navigator, I would not be as far along as I am in my degree,” says Henry. “She has followed my progress every step of

the way, offered suggestions that would accelerate my progress and prevented me from overloading myself and burning out. It’s good to know I can go to my navigator and tell her that I have a problem or ask if taking a certain class would benefit me.

“Before the navigator program, I picked my classes but did not really know how they fit in. With the navigator program, I know exactly how they fit and that they will transfer to a four-year college. I’m glad we have the navigator program here. It makes it feel more like a community.”

Grunzinger says the program is doing exactly what it was designed to do.

“Since implementation in October, our navigators have met with more than 1,600 students and have received positive feedback on the additional level of support,” she says. “This has been an exciting change on our campuses, and we look forward to the program having continued success with student retention and completion.”

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