Monday’s start of the spring semester also means the opening of the South Dakota State University Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center. The center is a hub for everything related to student success at SDSU.
Led by Jody Owen, the center embraces SDSU’s land-grant mission by supporting educational access for all students.
“South Dakota State University is committed to the success of all students,” said SDSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dennis Hedge. “The central aspect of our university mission is to provide the benefits of higher education to all seeking academic opportunities. The Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center will better align academic support and additional services for our students.”
As part of developing the center, SDSU created a Student Success Network, which is comprised of student success professionals meeting monthly and holding training programs to enhance collaborations to serve the individual needs of all students. Students will continue to be able to access services through any of the offices and positions within the Student Success Network, with the Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center being the place for students unsure where to start.
“The Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center opens possibilities for greater collaboration between people and programs that impact student success at SDSU,” Owen said. “These connections provide pathways and strengthen success efforts for all SDSU students, helping them engage with the university in a way that is meaningful to them.”
The center is part of SDSU’s commitment to the South Dakota Board of Regents’ statement released in August 2021 titled Opportunity for All. SDSU’s central focus on the opportunity center is aligned with student success efforts and tied to its mission of access as South Dakota’s land-grant institution.
To assist with the initial operations, an Opportunity Center Implementation Team will meet throughout the spring semester. Its goals are to consult on how to effectively implement action items from the Opportunity Center plan in a way that best supports SDSU students and to recommend strategies to communicate information to the university community.
In addition to Owen, the team consists of:
- -Shelly Bayer, director of Multicultural Affairs
- -Christi Garst-Santos, director, School of American and Global Studies
- -Linde Murray, Tutoring and TRIO programs director
- -Kevin Sackreiter, director, Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
- -Kyle Shapcott, Students’ Association senator.
The Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center continues the university’s commitment to student success, which can be shown by a student retention rate of 81% in 2019 and an 80% retention rate in fall 2020. As recognition for achieving professional standards of excellence, the center earned Learning Center Certification in 2020 through the National College Learning Center Association.