New Digs, New Possibilities

I am writing this from the comfort of my murphy desk (not this elegant or big but you get the point). I am finally settled into my new office on UC 3rd Floor. This is the first time in four years that I have had a proper office. With a closing door. I am quite honestly, in heaven.

It’s taken a while to get used to the new noises and new sounds. The constant rumble of the white noise makes it nice and quieter, but I’m finally happy to be able to listen to my music on speakers instead of in headphones.

I’m a big fan of new ways of working, and being in this new space helps make that happen. I’m very proud of the team I work with because before we were always calling each other, sending email, etc., but not they’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from all of us. Question? Go down the hallway. No more waiting on emails or returned phone calls.

The flow of traffic is nice too – being on the 3rd floor, just a floor away from the cafe is wonderful. Students don’t feel like they have to go out of the way to find me. I’m literally only a few seconds away. Triaging a student is only going to take minutes instead of hours or worse yet, days. I’m really enjoying this.

We have also implemented USF Achieve, powered by MapWorks on campus. Each first year student and incoming transfer student is assigned a University Adviser. This individual works with the student for all four years, no matter what their major is. Each student takes a survey, and based on the results of the survey, the student is assessed on the risk for leaving USF. It’s incredibly intuitive, easy for students and staff alike to read, and is a wonderful example of how new ways of working can increase productivity, depth of insight, and support student retention. This is exciting stuff.

I do have students who, based on their responses to the USF Achieve survey, who are at-risk for leaving. This is normal – the challenges of being in a new space are very real (as I can attest from my new office), so I am challenged to find  a way to reach out to my students, get them support, and to ensure that they are at their best. It’s scary to see things like, “I’m extremely homesick.” or “I don’t know if I will be here next semester.” But we’re here as University advisers to make sure that they get what they need to be successful.

More updates as we learn how to be coworkers with each other in this new space and as we endeavor to create new possibilities for students to become successful!

Best,

Charlene

About Charlene

And So It Begins is a blog by Charlene Lobo Soriano, Associate Director of Academic Support Services and University Advisor/Director of Academic Development and Technological Innovation in Advising for the Center for Academic and Student Achievement. When she's not blogging and tweeting as @iTweetUSF, Charlene works with First Year students and serves as a resource to faculty and staff who work with First Years. You can catch Charlene on Skype: itweetusf, and on twitter: @itweetusf. Or if you like things with wires, 415-422-6841. Beware. A real person answers this phone! ;-)
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