As a student, much of the educational journey is spent studying, researching and encouraging oneself to push through the challenges in pursuit of a degree. In addition to coursework, students are often looking for a job or attempting to balance time between work and school, and even a family. The stressors of going back to school and starting something new can become overwhelming at times; however, Hodges University’s Student Development unit of the Student Services division is here to support all students.
Hodges University offers a variety of student services to ensure success in all areas of a student’s life, including academic, career and personal well-being. Dean of Students, Dr. Marcia Turner, explained, “As an all-inclusive university, we are equipped to offer these services to all of our students, and as a team, we want to ensure we are addressing the needs of our students whether they are traditional, online or self-paced degree-seeking students or students in our English as a Second Language (ESL) population.”
To ensure Hodges’ student population receives the necessary assistance and support, Turner serves as a student advocate. Responsible for assisting students in their adjustment to college, Turner said, “I strive to listen carefully to student concerns, explain relevant policies and procedures, discuss possible courses of action and provide guidance, while respecting students’ rights to privacy within the confines of the law and university policy.”
When enrolling at Hodges, students receive support from various offices and departments within Student Services such as Office of Student Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, Student Accounts Services and the University Bookstore, and for our student veterans, the Veterans Services Center. In addition, all Hodges students are encouraged to use Career Services, Counseling and Disability Support Services, and Tutoring services, as well as participate in Student Success workshops and our clubs and organizations.
Counseling and Disability Support Services
Finding healthy solutions is the most effective way to manage stress. The mission of the Counseling Office is to provide developmental, remedial and preventive counseling services for all students and to provide guidance, education and support for students with special needs.
Jama Thurman, manager of Counseling and Career Services, states that the type of services offered include short-term individual and group counseling, crisis intervention and referrals. Whether you are dealing with anxiety, self-esteem or relationship issues, improving coping or time management skills, the counseling office is a great place to receive the support needed to succeed.
Hodges alumna Lourdes Araujo serves as the counselor and disability support manager. As a bilingual speaker, she is able to provide the professional experience related to counseling, as well as effectively communicate with students in the language at which they are most comfortable, whether that be English or Spanish.
“I am able to provide support and direction where cultural identity and language is of a concern to our students. I have an extensive background working with the ESL population, and as I am Hispanic and fluent in Spanish, I can open communication barriers with students,” Araujo explained.
In addition to the counseling services offered, students may seek disability support. Provided on a case-by-case basis, students with special needs may seek assistance to ensure equal access to educational opportunities, programs and activities. Some of the available accommodations include extended time on exams, class notes, as well as providing readers or interpreters for the hearing impaired.
While pursuing a degree, it is important for students to begin formulating a career plan. Hodges’ Office of Career Services assists all students and alumni in evaluating career goals through the creation of an action plan to display skills and talents. Students who visit the Office of Career Services may receive help with creating a resume and cover letter, practicing interviewing skills, conducting a professional job search, preparing for career fairs and more.
Jama Thurman and Lourdes Araujo serve as Hodges’ career counselors. Striving to meet the needs of all students, Araujo works closely with Hodges’ ESL population, saying, “I understand the cultural transition of these students.”
Gayle Sauer, a student in the clinical mental health counseling program, worked closely with Thurman after moving from Texas and enrolling at Hodges. Applying to various businesses throughout the area, she sent her resume to Thurman, saying, “One week after working with Jama and applying to Saluscare, I received a call from them and accepted a position as a clinician in the substance abuse outpatient program.”
Hodges alumnus Peter Kovacs also credits Thurman for assisting in his career advancement. Starting as a team member at Target, he met with Thurman to receive help with his resume. Interested in a management position with the company, Kovacs said, “She helped me put together a resume that included details hiring managers were looking for, and she helped me with interview preparation.” As a result of his work with Career Services, he accepted the manager position at Target.
Accessible through Blackboard, Hodges offers Smarthinking, which is a free, online tutorial service available to degree-seeking students anytime, anywhere. Whether a student needs help with math, science, writing or computers, Smarthinking tutors can provide the help a student needs to succeed academically.
In addition to online tutoring, Hodges offers on-site tutoring to all students. Librarian Riva Wharton explained, “All of the librarians are tutors. We help students with writing, math and computers.” Once a student submits a tutoring request, a librarian is assigned to make contact and work with the student to set up a time to conduct the tutoring session, which is scheduled for a maximum of two hours. If a student needs help with a specialized subject, an off-site tutor will be contacted to provide assistance.
“A tutor is a part-time position with the university, and if you are interested in assisting as a tutor, these employment opportunities are posted on the “Work at Hodges” portion of our website,” said Turner. “We are always looking for assistance for English, Math, Computers and specific subject area specialists.”
While on-site tutoring is conducted in the libraries on both campuses from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., online students who are pursuing their education from afar may utilize this service. Wharton recalled tutoring a student via email and phone to guarantee the student receives the help she needed.
Student Success Series Workshops and Support Groups
Throughout the year, students can expect visits from Student Services staff members, providing specialized workshops focusing on goal management, time management, stress management, coping skills and more.
“We will often invite Hodges alumni or local experts to come into the classroom and share tips and techniques,” said Turner. “It is a great way for our students to hear from those who have been where they are and who can provide insight into how to make the college experience less stressful and more manageable.”
During the first term at the university, new Hodges students are encouraged to attend. Each workshop is designed to introduce new students to knowledge, skills and/or campus resources and offices to help them in their successful transition and promote future success and engagement throughout their college experience.
The workshops are one hour in length and free to attend. In addition, to meet the needs of all students, the workshops are available via live stream and recorded for future reference for those who cannot attend on campus.
Watch for our listing of Student Success Workshops, as well as the many support groups being coordinated by our Student Support Coordinator, Jeanette Colon. Support groups can be a powerful way for you to find a community with like-minded people in a safe environment. Our support groups will address many of the barriers and obstacles students may experience while they are enrolled; academic, social, professional and cultural difficulties, are just a few examples.
Clubs & Organizations
To ensure students have a fulfilling college experience, Hodges students are encouraged to join and participate in a variety of on-campus clubs and organizations. Turner, along with Judie Fox, another Hodges alumna who serves as the Student Development coordinator, as well as the Office of Student Development, work to provide quality opportunities for students to engage in activities on campus and in the community.
“Student life outside of the classroom can and does make a contribution to the overall student’s success,” said Turner.
There are currently nine clubs and organizations on Hodges’ Fort Myers and Naples campuses, which include Allied Health Club, Business Club, Communication Club, Fort Myers Ambassadors, John Ebling Memorial at Hodges University American Legion Post 397, Multicultural Club, Naples Ambassadors, Psychology Club and Technology Society.
Do you want to learn more about Hodges’ Student Services? Visit www.hodges.edu/studentservices/.