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SHSU’s SAM Center Earns National Recognition

May 6, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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The SAM Center was established in 2002.  It has been the model for advising centers at several other universities.

The National Academic Advising Association has selected Sam Houston State University’s Student Advising and Mentoring Center as a 2011 Outstanding Institutional Advising Program Certificate of Merit recipient.

The recognition is part of the association’s annual awards program for academic advising. Bill Fleming directs SHSU’s program.

“This is the second time in a five-year period the SAM Center has been recognized as an outstanding advising and mentoring model in the United States,” said Fleming.

“I am extremely proud of the advisers and SAM Center staff who continue to develop and maintain effective programs that help all of our students attain their goal of graduation. We have a wonderful and dedicated group of professionals and student assistants who care about our university and its mission and who work hard for our constituents,” he said.

“The spirit of camaraderie enhances all that we do. The recognition by the National Academic Advising Association endorses our endeavors,” he said.

The Outstanding Advising Program Awards recognize programs that document innovative and/or exemplary practices resulting in improvement of academic advising service.

Since its establishment, 16 universities have visited the SAM Center and some have created centers patterned after the SHSU model. Twice, the center has been recognized in the U.S. News and World Report College Edition in articles about its services, its impact on education and students, and the importance of academic advising as a profession.

When the SAM Center opened in 2002, 12 faculty members from various disciplines who were known for their expertise in advising and their rapport with students were identified. They agreed to spend 15 hours each week advising in the SAM Center. Two professional advisers were added to the group.

Since 2005, eight additional advisers have been added, including one who serves as a traveling adviser who goes to feeder community colleges to advise students transferring to SHSU.

“Since the establishment of the SAM Center, more undergraduate students take advantage of advising services than before its existence,” said Fleming. “Many students return for further consultation with a ‘favorite’ adviser, and many come just to report their progress. This is creating excellent adviser-advisee relationships.”

In addition to advising, the SAM Center offers a number of academic support programs, including mentoring, monitoring academic progress, GRE/GMAT reviews, and study skills programs.

The center also hosts “Grassroots: Conversations on Leadership in a Diverse Community,” which features a noted individual of Latino or African-American descent leading a discussion focusing on his or her success in a forum with students of all backgrounds.

Fleming says that the center offers students many ways to enhance their college experience.

“The programs we’ve added in the past six years in concert with our existing successful programs, the welcoming atmosphere of the center, and the expertise and friendliness of our staff and faculty have truly made the SAM Center the place to attain success at Sam Houston State University,” he said.

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