Thornton named director of student success; excited for new changes to come

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Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 7:30pm

Jan Thornton was named to one of the three supervisory-level jobs announced on the Price campus fall semester: director of student success. The other positions being advertised include director of student life—leadership and involvement and director of enrollment services. Those positions should be filled by March 2012.

With the student services restructuring plan proposed by S & K being implemented, Thornton was hired to the new position in Dec. 2011. “I was hired to beef up our retention and graduation rate by helping students succeed. … It [graduation and retention] is below what we want and we’ve set some really great goals for the future.”

She will still be over the counseling center, disability resource center and health and wellness center. She has the new added responsibilities of being over academic advising, career services, international student services. She will also have responsibilities with the grant programs: Gear Up and Upward Bound.

“I’m really excited for my new job and the vision that is happening right now. …One of the changes [counselor] Lyndsay Reid and I are working on implementing is with a company called ‘Job for Job.’ They’re offering a web-base program for us [USU Eastern] that offers students help with writing resumes, tips on a good resumes, tips on questions to ask in the interview, good interviewing skills, how to dress and overall mannerism during the interview.”

“Some other changes that I’m working on are a collaboration with Shanny Wilson [counseling center director].”

Wilson said, “we’re working on online orientations for people that can’t make it in person, especially when they live hours away. There’s a lot of flexibility they [USU] give me in orientation. Another thing we’re working on is having more “parent panels,” having parents attend orientation, which we haven’t really done in the past...The greatest thing is that orientation is now part of student fees.

“We’re not going to be charging students to death: $10 here, $20 there, $150 housing deposit, every little bit adds up to a lot in a short time. … So now when new students ask how much they need to bring to orientation, we can say nothing, which we’ve never done before. The orientation here [USU Eastern] is continually changing.”

“I’m so lucky to be working with Shanny [Wilson] and the others. With their help, our team will be able to implement the changes that are needed in our departments,” Thornton said.

Suggestions and questions are always welcome, she said.

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