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Student Success Programs


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Executive director of student success, Dan Carpenter, headshot

Dan Carpenter, Executive Director of Student Success Programs

Opening Remarks from our Executive Director:

Thank you for taking the time to read our department’s 2020-21 year-in-review. Our approach this year is to let some of our affiliated students tell the story of our programs and the contribution they made to their journey. We hope you enjoy this approach and find it helpful and relatable.

Additionally, I encourage you to dig deeper into one or more of our detailed annual program reports. We strive to understand the impact of our work and to continuously improve. These program overviews tell a story about those efforts. We want all of our collaborators and colleagues to know what we’ve been up to and to help us to find ways to further collaborate around this important work. Here are some highlights from our work in the past year:

Notable Changes in 2020-21

Purdue Orientation Programs launched its inaugural “Boiler Cold Rush” program as a structured welcome and onboarding experience for new and transfer students admitted to begin in Purdue’s spring semester. Purdue’s Boiler Gold Rush also experienced significant growth, with a record-breaking 8,327 students checking into the 2021 program. This number includes nearly 200 second-year participants who spent their first full semester or academic year online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another notable improvement to programming was the conception and creation of a “BGR Sensory Guide,” which outlined the BGR schedule in ways that acknowledged a variety of activities that may have impact on neuro-diverse students. This guide was recognized as the Innovative Program of the Year at the NODA Annual Conference in October 2021, with special recognition going to creators Senior Assistant Director Virginia Cabrera and Web Developer Max Dryer.

The Academic Success Center (ASC) piloted a new offering called Accountability Groups to place students within a small group of their peers with a goal of helping students strengthen their study skills and stay motivated. Also this past year, ASC staff served as subject matter experts who helped develop module content related to time management, class engagement, note-taking and study strategies for Purdue’s Learning Online 101 Brightspace course. Additionally, in fall 2020, the ASC worked with campus partners to do additional outreach to students on academic probation, or those who would have been placed on academic probation barring the temporary lifting of some probation policies during the pandemic. Efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of additional student outreach are part of the ASC’s 2021-22 assessment plan.

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) piloted a closed-captioning service project, funded by the Office of the Provost, to provide free manual captioning for any course that had video content as part of the instructional offering for spring 2021 courses. The captioning pilot program led to support for the DRC to establish a Usable Materials Center as a service for faculty in the coming year. Most notably, the DRC continues to experience significant growth of registered students, with a 12.9 percent increase in students served over the past year. To support this growth, the DRC has added several new full-time positions, including one new access consultant, a testing coordinator, and a senior-level access consultant. The DRC also continues to provide training and support for its new Accessible Information Management (AIM) platform, which provides an improved workflow management system located in one place with validated accessibility features for both student, staff and faculty users.

Purdue Promise shifted several program components in 2020-21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including canceling its annual Maymester study abroad program to Spain for May 2021 and canceling the inaugural Maymester study abroad program to Scotland. However, Purdue Promise staff continued to provide both in-person and virtual support to students throughout the pandemic. As one of the first full departments in Student Success to return to 100 percent in-person work in the fall of 2020, Purdue Promise helped pilot the Protect Purdue Plan during Summer Start 2020. The pandemic also had an impact on retention and graduation data for all Purdue Promise cohorts enrolled in 2019-20 and 2020-21. Purdue Promise staff continue to work closely with many students regarding their plans to return to Purdue to finish their degrees following breaks away from campus due to various reasons.
Beyond their normal responsibilities, several Purdue Promise staff co-led QPR Gatekeeper sessions (suicide prevention training) for 255 first-year Purdue Promise students this semester as part of the students’ GS 197 seminar. Success Coaches Jaimee Barr, McKalaih Mitchell, Dylan Whipple and Tyra Baker led the sessions as certified QPR Gatekeeper instructors, while Success Coaches Alli Stubbs and Joplyn Raavel took attendance and debriefed with students.

Horizons Student Support Services saw four-year graduation rates among their students exceed the overall University graduation rate for the second consecutive year (specifically for the 2016 and 2017 cohorts). In addition to this achievement, Horizons students benefited from a one-time award that provided emergency grant aid to high-need students participating in selected TRIO programs in Indiana. Other program accomplishments were featured in a WLFI news segment about Horizons, including the 2020 renewal of the program’s five-year federal grant funding.

The Purdue Testing Center (PTC) has assumed the responsibility of administering the Purdue Civics Knowledge Test to undergraduate students as part of Purdue’s new civics literacy graduation requirement. Additionally, the PTC continued to offer online chemistry exams originally created in spring of 2020 and offered as a solution for students needing chemistry credit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PTC also became certified by the National College Testing Association in October of 2020, which aligns the center with standards and guidelines and adds validity to the center’s work on a local and national level. Currently, plans are underway for the PTC to relocate from Schleman Hall to Stewart Center in December 2022.

Span Plan Nontraditional Student Services increased its number of student contacts by 9 percent, which represents 313 student contacts compared to 267 in the previous year. Part of this increase was due to the expansion of the Span Plan Student Coaching program, which has resulted in more student engagement with resources and opportunities. Span Plan also created a new study space for nontraditional students in Krach Leadership Center, which has become a popular option for students with more than 25 visits per week. Span Plan advocacy and partnership with other campus units also led to improvements for nontraditional students such as a new child-friendly study space reserved for parenting students in Purdue Libraries, as well as improved cleaning practices in lactation spaces.

The Veterans Success Center (VSC) has resumed its Green Zone training and student panel sessions after a brief hiatus during the pandemic. The VSC has increased its staffing due to increased compliance and complexities of the GI Bill and other benefits such as tuition assistance. The VSC also assumed responsibility as the VA Certifying Official for students attending Purdue through Statewide Technology programs. Looking ahead, the VSC is in the initial planning stages of renovating its office in PMU 280 with financial support from Purdue’s Office of the Provost.

Meet the rest of our dedicated team.

The following staff work across a variety of unique departments under the division of Teaching and Learning. While our day-to-day responsibilities vary, our collective goal is to help students arrive, thrive, and graduate on time. We encourage you to click on any of the photos below to learn a little bit about the people who keep our programs moving forward.

Selife of Lisa Yates, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selife of Virginia Cabrera, employee in Orientation Programs. Selife of Quinton Skibinski, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Wendy Mouser, employee in the Veterans Success Center. Selfie of Bahiyyih Baker, employee in the Purdue Testing Center. Selfie of Cam Hoyt, employee in Orientation Programs. Selfie of Baraka Corley, employee in Horizons. Selfie of Malissa Ayala, employee in Span Plan. Selfie of Joanna Cardarelli, employee in the Academic Success Center. Selfie of Morgan Torres, employee in the Veterans Success Center. Selfie of Dennis Bowling, employee in Student Success Programs. Selfie of Katie Dufault, employee in the Academic Success Center. Selfie of Teresa Harris, employee in the Veterans Success Center. Selfie of Dan Carpenter, employee in Student Success Programs. Selfie of Katie the service dog, helper of Student Success Programs. Selfie of Jessica Weller, employee in Horizons. Selfie of Brittany Allensworth, employee in Hroizons. Selfie of April Mckinney, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Michelle Ashcraft, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Eli Van Sickel, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Jamie Richards, employee in the Veterans Success Center. Selfie of Craig Johnson, employee in Orientation Programs. Selfie of Cindy Fields, employee in the Purdue Testing Center. Selfie of Alli Stubbs, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Theo Bernt, employee in Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Austin Connell, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Dawn Amato, employee in the Veterans Success Center. Selfie of Andrea Mattingly, employee in Student Success Programs. Selfie of Joe Strickler, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Max Dryer, who made this report. Please send any accessibility concerns to him. He is trying to learn how to make sites like this more user-friendly for people with visual impairments. Selfie of Marquetta Strait, GA in the Academic Success Center. Selfie of Tyra Baker, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Sarah Johnson, employee in Horizons. Selfie of Kenrda Coons, employee in the Academic Success Center. Selfie of Randall Ward, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Mary Kirk, employee in the Academic Success Center. Selfie of Jackie Heymann, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Heidi Smart, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Paul Harwell, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Amanda Bell, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Dylan Whipple, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Bonnie Huckaby, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Caylen Redden, employee in the Purdue Testing Center. Selfie of Cindy Hedgecough, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Connie Washburn, employee in Student Success Programs. Selfie of Jaimee Barr, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Jazmine Clifton, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Allison Staley, employee in Student Success Programs. Selfie of Kelsey Jordan, employee in the Disability Resource Center. Selfie of Karen Jacobson, employee in the Academic Success Center. Selfie of Mckailah Mitchell, employee in Purdue Promise. Selfie of Taylor Stayback, employee in Student Success Programs. Selfie of Karen Zerby, employee in Student Success Programs.

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Everything we do, we do for our students. Come read what they had to say about how our work served them in 2020-21.

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Headshot of student Manu Haddad Correa, representing Orientation Programs

Learn about...

Orientation Programs

from Manu Haddad Correa


Orientation Programs

Student's Perspective: Manu Haddad Correa

Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) is Purdue’s welcome week orientation program for all new undergraduate students. This program offers a great chance to make lasting friendships and sets first-year and transfer students up for success. Beyond participating in BGR as a first-year student, the program provides leadership opportunities for sophomores working as a Team Leaders, juniors volunteering as Team Supervisor, and seniors helping run BGR as members of program’s Student Orientation Committee (SOC). Manu Haddad Correa is excited to be the 2022 SOC Chair.

Correa is a junior in Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology and Genetics at Purdue. Participating in BGR since first stepping foot on campus as an incoming student, Correa has loved her journey from Team Leader to Team Supervisor, to now SOC Chair. However, as an international student, Correa faced additional barriers when adjusting to college life. She says Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi) was an important experience that helped during her transition to Purdue.

“It's really hard to be yourself in a second language. You are confined by the constraints of this different vocabulary. BGR showed me that I can have these two sides of myself, and they can be embraced in different ways,” Correa says. “There are still a lot of barriers you can face as an international student, and I think working with BGR and BGRi has given me an opportunity to help others with similar issues and also find my people here at Purdue.”

View Orientation Programs Annual Report

Headshot of student Nic Miller, representing the ASC

Learn about the...

Academic Success Center

from Nic Miller


Academic Success Center

Student's Perspective: Nic Miller

The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides a variety of academic support services for undergraduate students at Purdue. One student who chose to get out of his comfort zone and participate in these academic support services is Nic Miller.

Miller is a December graduate studying math and statistics. When asked how the ASC has impacted his time at Purdue, Miller shared that working as a Peer Success Coach helped him gain confidence and professionalism.

“Before I was a Peer Success Coach, I went through a lot of academic struggle,” Miller says. “My second semester in college I failed a class for the first time, which put a huge wrench in my plans. I could no longer progress in my major and for the next year I was scrambling trying to make it up while also trying to meet my other requirements.”

Miller says helping others through his work as Peer Success Coach equipped him with skills that have been beneficial to his own academic progress.

“I have not only learned how to help others with time management, organization, motivation, and self-care, but I have also learned how to help myself in those areas,” he says. “I have enjoyed having a support team I can ask questions to, both about Peer Success Coach responsibilities and about anything going on in my life. Everyone genuinely cares for each other and is looking for ways to improve as a staff and as a campus resource. I am grateful that I applied out of my comfort zone to work here.”

View ASC Annual Report

Headshot of Emma Yoakum, representing the DRC

Learn about the...

Disability Resource Center

from Emma Yoakum


Disability Resource Center

Student's Perspective: Emma Yoakum

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is the office designated by Purdue to provide services, resources, and programs to facilitate equal access for disabled students, resulting in their full participation in curricular and co-curricular offerings. Emma Yoakum is a student employee of the office and one of the disabled students who benefits from the DRC’s resources.

Yoakum is a junior studying organizational leadership and has been involved with the DRC since first hearing about the center on a college tour as a senior in high school.

“I feel like people think that you have to have a visible disability to use the resources at the DRC, but I have ADHD and you cannot tell that by just looking at me,” Yoakum says. “The DRC offers me extra help and without their help I would have definitely struggled more through my freshman and sophomore years.”

With students returning to in-person lectures, in-person testing has also returned.

“Last year, and especially this year, I have been able to use my accommodations to get extended time and take all my tests at the testing center,” Yoakum says. “The big lecture halls distract me a lot. Somebody flips their page, and I cannot help but be distracted by the sound. The DRC testing center is a smaller environment, with a lot less distractions, and I feel like I'm not rushed when I'm testing in it. The DRC has contributed a lot to my success at Purdue. I feel less anxious when testing because I know that I have accommodations. The staff at the DRC has also helped me change my major and put me on a new professional career path that I am really excited about.”

View DRC Annual Report

Headshot of Sheridan Vik, representing Span Plan

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Span Plan

from Sheridan Vik


Span Plan

Student's Perspective: Sheridan Vik

Span Plan works to serve the nontraditional undergraduate student population enrolled in Purdue University's West Lafayette campus. One of those students is Sheridan Vik, a sophomore studying organizational leadership with a minor in dance. She is a Span Plan Nontraditional Student Services Student Coach and, post-graduation, she plans to continue her passion for dance by working in art administration.

As a nontraditional student at Purdue, Vik defines success as a growing process that happens over time. She says, “I know that life gives you curveballs. It’s about finding the little things to help move you along as you grow as an individual. Success in anyone's life I believe is not this one and done idea where you can only achieve success once and that's it. Success to me is like learning where if you are a lifelong learner, you will always find new goals and adventures to succeed in.”

One of Vik’s biggest supporters on her journey to success at Purdue is Malissa Ayala, Director of Span Plan. The amount of paperwork and financial stressors can be a large roadblock for nontraditional students when choosing to start college. Vik was extremely appreciative of the times when Ayala would look through paperwork with her step-by-step. “When it came time to turn everything in, she was there to help me. And when I was struggling to get answers, because this can be a really long process and I need to pay my bills, she was very helpful in getting me through that.”

Vik also said the Span Plan program and all its support offerings helped her believe she could go back to school.

“I was struggling with that idea when I first met Malissa,” Vik says. “This program is incredible because it helps so many students in such unique situations. Nontraditional students do not just fit in one box, and this program exists to be flexible and mold to each student it serves.”

View Span Plan Annual Report

Selfie of Daniel Mayper, representing the VSC

Learn about the...

Veterans Success Center

from Daniel Mayper


Veterans Success Center

Student's Perspective: Daniel Mayper

The Veterans Success Center (VSC) provides a comprehensive suite of wrap-around support services for Purdue University’s students who are veterans, members of the military, or benefit-using family members. Daniel Mayper is one of these students who has been greatly impacted by the resources and staff in the VSC office.

Mayper is a senior in aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering. Mayper’s sponsor from his military unit advised him to look into the VSC when he got to Purdue.

“I was so nervous the first time I visited the VSC,” Mayper recalls. “It was a new place and I thought it was going to be filled with these seasoned veterans. The first thing I see is the Settlers of Katan board game set out on a really nice table. There were three large men yelling at each other over someone running someone else's strategy.”

Mayper said the experience made him laugh and feel at home in the VSC.

“It makes it a great place for veterans to be themselves, in my opinion,” he says. “(The) VSC has given me a foundation at Purdue. Without their help, I simply wouldn't be at Purdue right now. The VSC staff has helped me fill out paperwork, sat with me on calls with the Veterans Affairs office, and introduced me to an incredible support system. I am so grateful for this program at Purdue.”

View VSC Annual Report

Selfie of Drew Chatmon, representing Purdue Promise

Learn about...

Purdue Promise

from Drew Chatmon


Purdue Promise

Student's Perspective: Drew Chatmon

Purdue Promise provides access, affordability, and holistic support to facilitate opportunities for qualifying Indiana 21st Century scholars. The main goal of the program is to help these scholars graduate on time, debt-free, and thoroughly prepared for life after Purdue. The program includes regular one-on-one coaching meetings with professional staff, safe spaces to ask questions and seek advice, and so much more. One student who attributes his success at Purdue to these resources offered by Purdue Promise is Drew Chatmon.

Chatmon is a December graduate studying mechanical engineering technology and minoring in business management. If it were not for Purdue Promise and the program’s financial support, Chatmon says he would not have gone to college.

“I 100% would not be here without Purdue Promise,” Chatmon says. “I am incredibly grateful for the scholarship I received, but the program is more than just the money.”

Chatmon recalls a few times he felt like quitting, his Purdue Promise success coach “brought me back.”

“The people are what makes the program so amazing, and the support system I received from being a part of Purdue Promise has made me the man I am today.”

View Purdue Promise Annual Report

Selfie of Danielle Wilson, representing Horizons

Learn about...


from Danielle Wilson



Student's Perspective: Danielle Wilson

Horizons is a student support system that assists students in developing academic, social, and personal skills through services such as tutoring, mentoring, career development, academic support, cultural enrichment, and access to global experiences. One student who has excelled from the support system offered by Horizons is Danielle Wilson.

Wilson is a senior in Psychological Sciences and is working on getting her Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis. She has trained and served as a Horizons peer mentor and is currently working as a head student leader. Wilson first heard about the resources offered by Horizons during a summer visit to campus. “I had already chosen Purdue for its other incredible opportunities, but Horizons is what really sold me on coming and it’s what’s kept me here.”

Wilson said the Horizons program has always felt like a home to her.

“All the staff members have uplifted me in my academic and personal life. Whenever I come into the office and I am having a bad day, they can read my facial expression and would call me into their office to talk for a moment to check up on me. They would listen to me for an hour or more about my life and my situation, and I would leave their office feeling so much better,” Wilson says.

“Additionally, the faculty mentoring has been really beneficial for my academic and professional development. My faculty mentor got me into research my freshman year, when most students do not even start considering research until their junior or senior year. The research that I'm in right now, working on the emotional and cognitive regulation abilities of children with and without ADHD, is an amazing opportunity that will help me be a child psychologist one day.”

View Horizons Annual Report

Selfie of Jonathan Oppenheimer, representing the Purdue Testing Center

Learn about the...

Purdue Testing Center

from Jonathan Oppenheimer


Purdue Testing Center

Student's Perspective: Jonathan Oppenheimer

The Purdue Testing Center (PTC) serves students and the greater Purdue community by providing testing services for undergraduate advancement, graduate development, and professional accreditation. Students from every class, major, and background pass through the doors of the PTC every day. One student, Jonathan Oppenheimer, was able to complete his civics literacy requirement with the help of the PTC.

In June 2021, the Purdue University Board of Trustees adopted a civics literacy graduation requirement for undergraduates. Students must complete an educational activity as part of their chosen Civics Literacy Pathway and pass the Purdue Civics knowledge test. As a freshman in computer science, Jonathan is one of the first cohort of students to complete this new Civics knowledge test.

“I was made aware of the requirement to complete the civics literacy requirement through the MyPurdue dashboard,” Oppenheimer recalls. “After signing up for the final exam, I was instructed to sign up for a time slot to take the exam at the Purdue Testing Center.”

Oppenheimer said the experience was direct and easy to understand.

“On the date of my sign-up, I went to the testing center and was set up at a computer station. I took the exam while being monitored and upon finishing, I signed out and left,” he says. “The Purdue testing center offered me the opportunity to complete a graduation requirement in an easy and straightforward manner."

View Purdue Testing Center Annual Report

Thank you so much for reading our 2020-21 Year In Review. If you would like to learn more about Student Success Programs, check out the rest of our website!

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