Assistant Director of Student Success Heather Frazer represented HCAP at the 2022 NCLCA conference in Reston, VA. In addition to learning from professionals in the student success field, Frazer presented a session titled “Building a Sense of Belonging in a Post-Pandemic Setting.” In the session, she shared specific strategies used in the HCAP Student Success Center to promote a sense of belonging among HCAP Peer Mentors with the goal of them, in turn, passing that along to their mentees.
For students, faculty and staff in higher ed, the transition over the past couple of years from virtual to in-person services on campus has been challenging to say the least, even more so for students who occupy both roles on campus. The HCAP Student Success Center opened its doors in the spring of 2022 in order to provide services to undergraduate students in the College for Health, Community and Policy. These services included a team of brand-new peer mentors, most of whom had not set foot on a college campus in two years, if ever.
This led Frazer to the following question: how can learning center professionals create an environment that provides student staff with a sense of community and connection to campus, which they can in turn pass along to the students they serve? The conference gave her an opportunity to share strategies used in the HCAP Student Success Center as well as engage in discussion on best practices with her colleagues from colleges and universities across the nation.
Frazer is as passionate about staff development as she is the students she serves. “If we claim to be student-centered… advocates for our students, then it is imperative that colleges and universities invest in the professional development of their staff,” she said. “Like faculty, we are on the front lines, investing our time and energy into ensuring our students have the best opportunity to succeed in their college journey. The more we are able to share and learn best practices with our colleagues, the more our students benefit.”