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2.10 Student Support Services

The institution provides student support programs, services, and activities consistent with its mission that promote student learning and enhance the development of its students. (Student Support Services)

Judgment of Compliance

Sam Houston State University offers student support services that are consistent with the University’s mission [1] and the requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Along with services to enhance student learning and scholarly endeavors, the University has programs, services, and activities in place to support development of citizenship, leadership, and responsibility to society. The Divisions of Student Services and Enrollment Management, and the Department of Athletics contribute to “quality education, scholarship, and service” by “promoting students’ intellectual, social, ethical, and leadership growth.”

The role of the Division of Student Services [2] is to complement the total educational mission of the University by providing opportunities for students to develop and grow in an academic environment. The mission of the Division is to "initiate opportunities and provide resources for all students, which promote life skills and development within the academic environment. As an integral partner in the educational process, Student Services provides quality programs and services for students and staff which foster growth and development. Departments within the division embrace a student development philosophy that emphasizes a holistic approach in co-curriculum involvement."  Studies indicate that learning occurs in an environment conducive to social, recreational, educational, and intellectual interaction. A variety of student service programs are designed to foster such interaction with students, faculty, staff, and the University community. The goal of the division is to contribute to the learning experiences of SHSU students, helping them to become educated, enlightened, and empowered to achieve and contribute as productive citizens in their college, community, and country.

The role of the Division of Enrollment Management [3] centers on a vision of working collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students to provide participation and success in higher education to a diverse population. The division focuses on attracting, enrolling, retaining, and graduating students to empower them to be productive citizens. Through across-campus teamwork, the Division encourages the cooperation and enthusiasm of faculty and staff to effectively administer and track programs that will result in more students enrolling at the institution and helping them to attain their educational objectives, while also nurturing future loyal alumni who will contribute to the life of the institution.

The role of the Athletic Department is to develop student-athletes as complete individuals and educated citizens who are fully prepared to contribute positively to society, while also providing a positive image for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community by competing at the Division I level of college athletics. To enhance the role of the Athletic department for student support, the department has a variety of success initiatives which are targeted at SHSU's student athletes.

Bearkat OneCard
The official ID card of Sam Houston State University is the Bearkat OneCard [4]. It has been designed to be an efficient, multi-purpose card which provides students easy access to University facilities and services. The OneCard provides access to residence halls, dining services, parking facilities, library, health center, recreational sports, athletic events and other University services. The manner in which financial refund disbursements are made is selected when enrolling for the Bearkat OneCard. The Bearkat OneCard also offers students the option of securing a free online checking account and may be used as a debit card.

Campus Safety
Sam Houston State University offers a variety of services to promote a safe campus environment. The campus is equipped with emergency call boxes stationed at strategic locations throughout the campus, including parking lots, walkways, and residence halls. Additionally, the University Police provide staff to escort students who do not wish to walk alone at night to and/or from campus buildings and parking lots. Students wishing to learn more about personal safety and self defense may take advantage of programs offered by the University Police Department [5].

Career Services
The Career Services Office [6] assists students of all levels and graduates of Sam Houston State University in their search for employment appropriate to their interests, skills, academic preparation and personal aspirations. Opportunities and resources are provided to assist students in learning and implementing the life-long process of career exploration, career choice and ultimately, obtaining rewarding employment.

The Office sponsors special events such as the annual Teacher Job Fair (fall and spring semesters), Career Expo held each fall semester, and the Summer Job and Camp Fair. As a member institution in the Houston Area Consortium of Career Centers, SHSU Career Services also participates in the Texas Job Fair which attracts a large number of Houston-area employers each spring.

Career Services offers a variety of programs and services to assist students such as career assessment (Academic Coach), job fairs, mock interviews, company information, cover letter & resume assistance, career counseling, “Job 4 Kats” job listings, presentations and workshops, career library and computers, and on–campus interviews.

The Co-Curricular Transcript
The Co-Curricular Transcript [7] enhances the marketability of students by encouraging their participation in leadership activities, student organizations, community service, and professional development through formal documentation of extra-curricular activities. It is an official record of leadership accomplishments, involvement in student organizations, community service activities, and professional/educational development programs. It is a means of recognizing “out of class” learning, development, and contributions.

Computer Services
Computer Services [8] provides the University community with the technology necessary to provide the highest level of services to students. The University uses a high-speed fiber optic network that connects all major campus buildings and residence halls. Attached to this network are servers for administrative functions, academic computing, and research computing. This network is also connected to the Internet, and provides all students access to e-mail, Web servers, electronic course delivery, and many more valuable network resources. Wireless access for SHSU students is currently available at many locations throughout campus. All University residence halls have connections available for accessing the University LAN.

Computer Services has 14 computer labs across campus, manned by more than 70 lab assistants. These labs are equipped with CD-ROM's, CD-burners, scanners, printers, USB ports for access with flash/pin drives, and other peripheral items. These computer labs are available to enrolled students, faculty, and staff. Times for the labs, lab schedules, and live web cams are posted online and outside each lab.  Most of the software applications for campus computers are available on all University computers connected to the Campus network (SAMnet).

From the University web site, students can activate and begin using SHSU computer accounts upon acceptance to the University. To ensure prompt communications, the University sends official statements and documents via the student’s SHSU e-mail address. This e-mail account remains available to students after graduation, allowing continuity for job searches and alumni interactions. Each student is provided a personal computer environment that is accessible from any campus computer.

Continuing Education
Continuing Education [9] offers non-credit courses for personal and professional development. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the non-university community may take advantage of the programs and services offered by Continuing Education. Examples of courses include but are not limited to the following: mediation, introduction to various computer software, art, stress reduction, country and western dance, ballroom dance, yoga, and cake decorating.

Counseling Centers
Professional counseling services are available to students in the Counseling Center [10]. Individual or group counseling is available for personal, educational, or vocational concerns. Students of all levels can receive help in choosing a major, stress management, study skills, and test anxiety. Students can work on a range of personal concerns, including alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and physical or sexual abuse. Services are also available for international students who seek support in adjusting to life at an American university.

The Jack Staggs Clinic [11], under the supervision of the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling, supplements the services offered by the Counseling Center. Counseling services are provided by master and doctoral students under the supervision of faculty. Although services are designed to serve the local community, students are able to take advantage of these services if such services are not available at the Student Counseling Center (e.g., marriage and family counseling).

The Psychological Services Center (PSC) provides services to the community as well as clinical training for doctoral level students. The PSC offers services on a sliding fee scale and strives to provide evaluations and treatment for people who are under-served in the community [12].

Dean of Students
The Dean of Students’ Office [13] through leadership, programs, and policy development, contributes to the overall intellectual, social, and personal development of the students. The Dean of Students’ Office represents student needs to the University administration, faculty, and staff and also transmits needs of these groups to the students. This Office assists students who have questions about any phase of campus life. In an effort to promote individual group development of students, the Office co-sponsors educational programs and leadership development workshops. The professional staff is responsible for the administration of a number of policies and procedures found in Student Guidelines [14], the student handbook. These include student conduct and judicial processes, and certain provisions of the Family Rights and Privacy Act. In addition, a variety of programs and responsibilities fall under the auspices of the Dean of Students’ Office [15] to include, Bearkat Ongoing Leadership Development (B.O.L.D.); Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; Freshman Leadership Program; Orange Keys Program; Faculty/Student Mentor Program; Faculty/Staff Recognition Program; University Parking Appeals; Alpha Lambda Delta, a freshman honor society; advising the Parents’ Association; and advising the Student Government Association.

Disability Services
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) [16] is located in the Counseling Center and provides accommodations, counseling and adaptive technology for students with disabilities. Students seeking academic accommodations need to provide appropriate documentation verifying their disability. Examples of available adaptive technology includes Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), computer work stations with large print and speech output capabilities, FM amplifying devices, and Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD). Students with a documented learning disability can request registration assistance by contacting the Registrar’s Office [17].

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid Office assists students with financial planning for their educational future [18]. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and/or work study. Most aid is based upon financial need whereas most scholarships are merit based. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the Financial Aid Application Guide [19] on the Financial Aid website or from one of the Financial Aid counselors. Students are encouraged to refer to Scholarship Information [20] for specific details about scholarships available. Students are also encouraged to refer to the SHSU website for details concerning available scholarships.

First-Year Experience (FYE)
The First-Year Experience Program [21] includes a variety of courses and support services designed to help first-year students make a successful transition to the demands of university life. The program is of a volunteer nature providing students academic and selected non-academic support services dedicated to addressing issues common to first-year students. The program is comprised of the following options: orientation sessions, a three-hour freshman seminar (SAM 136), residential and non-residential cohort groups and learning communities, academic centers/tutorials, personalized academic advising, counseling and mentoring, career guidance.

The First-Year Experience includes a voluntary convocation service for all incoming Sam Houston State University freshman students. Convocation is a celebration aimed at motivating new students and their parents to embrace the challenges and experiences of college. All entering freshmen, faculty and staff are invited to this event. A motivational speaker encourages student success.

Sam 136 [22], a college transition course, is a three-hour, elective freshman seminar concentrating on enhancing reading, writing, and communication skills needed to succeed in an academic program. Additionally, the course raises awareness about common experiences and challenges that are frequently encountered by first-year students.

Graduate Studies
The Office of Graduate Studies [23] encourages the professional development of graduate students. Financial support for travel expenses is offered to graduate students who make presentations at state, national, and international conferences. The Graduate Research Exchange [24] provides an opportunity for master and doctoral students from across campus to share their in-progress and completed research projects. The Graduate Research Exchange is supported by the Office of Graduate Studies and the following University doctoral programs: Educational Leadership and Counseling, Criminal Justice, Clinical Psychology, and Reading.

Health Center
The Student Health Center [25] provides comprehensive routine health services and education to all currently enrolled students. Students may schedule appointments in person or by phone, up to one day in advance. The Health Center is equipped with an in-house pharmacy and laboratory providing convenient and affordable access to routine healthcare services. The cost of office visits are covered by the Medical Service Fee paid at the time of registration. Modest fees are charged for laboratory tests, prescription drugs and certain procedures. In addition to medical services, the Health Center offers health education, prevention programs, and general health information [26].

International Programs
The Office of International Programs (OIP) [27] promotes, fosters, encourages, and coordinates international activities at Sam Houston State University, including the recruitment and retention of international students, and the study and travel abroad of SHSU faculty and students. The Office of International Programs is a primary contact for international students at the University. The Office of International Programs is active in the recruitment of international students to the University, and the OIP staff handles immigration procedures for international students. OIP staff also provides various support services for international students, (i.e. transportation, cultural and social field trips, campus and community activities, and receptions). Sam Houston State University offers opportunities for study on exchange programs and faculty-led programs, including but not limited to Italy, France, England, South Korea, Mexico, Ireland, China, Spain, Thailand, and Poland.

Learning Communities
Bearkat Learning Community (BLC) [28] is a program which provides incoming freshmen students the opportunity to take classes with other students who live in the same residence hall. This group of students also has a planned program of activities designed to enhance academics as well as provide a positive social atmosphere. BLC was implemented as a joint effort of the Department of Residence Life, the Division of Academic Affairs, and the Division of Student Services.

The Freshman Learning Community (FLC) [29] cohorts are an enhanced non-residential educational experience specifically designed to foster the intellectual development of students through increased interaction with fellow students, faculty and staff. The FLC cohorts offer first-year college students a unique opportunity to become intimately familiar with the necessary academic and social skills. The program has been altered since its inception to allow students with a common academic interest to join a discipline-related learning community as part of FLC. Cohorts have been established for business, agriculture, education, and criminal justice majors.

Learning Enhancement Center (LEC)
This program features study and work areas, 24 computers, printers, and hosts the tutorial program strictly for student-athlete use. The academic offices for athletics are located in the LEC. Also in the LEC is the Enterprise Career Center which offers career advice on resume writing, interviewing skills, and assistance for the job market. Seminars are provided each semester with hands-on advice for the job market.

Lowman Student Center & Student Activities
The Lowman Student Center [30] (LSC), conveniently located at the center of campus, offers several dining options and a variety of meeting facilities and services. The University Bookstore is located on the second floor, along with the Art Gallery and Information Center. The LSC also houses the Kat Klub entertainment center, a spacious ballroom, theater, food court, and sixteen conference rooms. The LSC provides wireless computer access, as well as computer work stations on the first and second floors. An ATM and a copy machine are located on the first floor. Students may consider joining one of the many organizations that meet in the Lowman Student Center. By getting involved and connected, students may gain the opportunity to meet other students with similar interests, make new friends, gain valuable leadership experiences, and make better grades.

The Lowman Student Center houses a variety of offices and student support programs. The Department of Student Activities [31] provides leadership and advisement to student organizations and offers quality programs and services that embrace a student development philosophy. The Office also provides an environment conducive to learning through involvement in co-curricular activities. There are approximately 225 registered student organizations [32] at Sam Houston State University.

The Program Council [33], as a division of Student Activities, is a student-run organization devoted to creating educationally distinct programs that encourage the development of leadership and life skills through interaction among a diverse student body.

The mission of the Program Council is aimed at achieving and maintaining a balance between a professional and social atmosphere in order to produce an efficient organization and continuously challenging students to grow and adapt to change in order to apply learned knowledge to any situation. The Program Council seeks to create fun innovative programs by the students, for the students in order to satisfy their needs and develop a holistic individual.

In order to provide the Sam Houston State University community with diverse cultural experiences, the Multicultural & International Student Services Office [34] coordinates programming that enhances the college experience for traditionally underrepresented populations. The specific purpose of these programs is to promote cultural awareness in the university community, to enhance and cultivate leadership, social and academic skills through participation in cultural programs, and to assist in the retention and graduation of students of various backgrounds (based on culture, gender, physical ability, race, religion, and sexual orientations). As part of the Division of Student Activities, the office also provides a vehicle by which culturally diverse students can share ideas and talents through a variety of workshops and presentations and facilitates individual experiences to promote self-awareness and professional development.

Mandatory Academic Advising for Student-Athletes
Student-athletes receive guidance concerning course scheduling, assistance with registration, degree plans, and information regarding NCAA academic/eligibility requirements. All student-athletes are required to be advised at the SAM Center first, then within the athletic department. All student-athletes that have 90 hours or more are required to be advised for graduation status approval.

Monitoring of Academics
Student-athletes’ academic progress are monitored by grade checks (three times per semester) as well as meetings with an academic advisor to discuss progress, grades, and strategies.

NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Program
This program provides a mandatory class for all incoming freshman student-athletes to further enhance the student-athletes opportunities for success while attending Sam Houston State. The NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills class is structured to cover topics to bridge the gap and ease transition into college athletics, academics, and their subsequent careers.

New Student Orientation
The New Student Orientation Program [35] hosts organized, purposeful, and positive introduction sessions for all new SHSU students and their families. These sessions help students become familiar with services and programs vital to their successful transition to full and active members of the SHSU community. Partnering collaboratively with other university offices and departments, these sessions help students gain the skills, information and meaningful relationships important to successful long-term academic and personal outcomes. For new students entering graduate studies at Sam Houston State University, Graduate Studies provides new student orientation information [36] about available academic support services.

Recreational Sports and Activities Program
The Department of Recreational Sports and Activities [37] offers broad-based recreational programming in the areas of Intramural Sports, Informal Recreation, Aquatics, Club Sports, Outdoor Recreation, Wellness, and Special Events. The Department of Recreational Sports and Activities manages the Health and Kinesiology Center [38] which houses four basketball courts; two multi-purpose rooms; 1/8-mile indoor running track; ten racquetball courts; weight room; courts for badminton, volleyball, and pickle ball; and a 34’ climbing wall and boulder. Additional facilities include an outdoor heated swimming pool, eight outdoor tennis courts, two outdoor sand volleyball courts, Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum [39], University Camp [40], a 345-acre campsite, and three athletic fields used for intramurals. In addition, the department is responsible for the Pritchett Field Complex [41], which includes two athletic fields and an outdoor running track.

Residence Life
The Department of Residence Life [42] provides services that contribute to the students’ physical well-being as well as enhance their intellectual, emotional, cultural, and social development. Residence Life provides economical housing that offers services and conveniences that permit a student to make maximum use of his / her time for intellectual, personal, and social development. Residence Life also seeks to facilitate greater awareness, understanding, and acceptance of individual, cultural, and lifestyle differences. The University provides residence halls, housing units, an apartment complex for upperclassmen, and meal plans [43]. Approximately 3.500 students are housed within the 32 residence halls and apartments.

Whenever possible, students evaluate departmental operations, and the suggestions provided are used to make changes and improvements. Residence Life also provides resource people to aid students in seeking solutions to problems and difficulties that arise, serve as role models, facilitate personal development, and assist in the development of an educational atmosphere.

Residence Life Cinema offers free movies on Channel 71. These movies are selected not only for entertainment value, but also for an educational opportunity. Movies are shown continuously around-the-clock with small educational "shorts" and informational slides shown between.

SAM Center
The Student Advising and Mentoring Center [44], also known as the SAM Center, offers a wide variety of services for the students of Sam Houston State University. The SAM Center offers academic advisement and enrichment services to all undergraduate and graduate students and is a resource dedicated to helping students adjust to academic life. Services available include career testing, aid with time management, and study skills.

The Study Skills Program [45] is six one-hour sessions designed to address core skills essential for academic success. The trained facilitators are advanced students who understand the demands of college and how to balance recreation with academics. The sessions address procrastination, time management, taking class notes, test-taking strategies, etc.

Sam Houston Memorial Museum
The Sam Houston Memorial Museum [46], established in 1936 as a Texas centennial project, is an integral part of Sam Houston State University and is dedicated to preserving the memory of General Sam Houston (1793-1863). The museum offers many educational opportunities [47] for Sam Houston State University students.

Student Government Association
The Student Government Association [48] exists for the sole purpose of serving the student community. It is the political voice and liaison for the student body. The University recognizes the need and worthwhile contribution of student input in all facets of the University decision-making processes. The Student Government Association has long been active in this regard and has worked for the betterment of student life and academic quality. The student body participates in the development and management of a well-rounded program of student activities by electing the Student Government Association officers and Student Senators.

Students’ Legal and Mediation Services
The Student Legal Services [49] advisor assists students with legal problems by guiding them through self-help procedures and providing written materials concerning their legal issues. By guiding the student through the procedures required in administrative and judicial proceedings, it is anticipated that the student will be able to effectively deal with these problems currently and in the future. When the problem is of such a nature that legal representation is immediately needed, a referral to several practicing attorneys in that area of law is made. Students’ Legal Services also offers mediation services with a trained neutral third party (a qualified mediator) who facilitates an agreement between the parties. All matters between the Students’ Legal Advisor and the student are confidential.

Student Media
Students with a major or minor in Mass Communications [50] have the opportunity to work with departmental media. Media outlets include a student newspaper, The Houstonian [51], the student radio station, KSHU FM, the student television station, KSHU TV-7 [52], and the Alcalde yearbook. Each offers hands-on experience in journalism and/or broadcasting skills.

Tutorial Assistance for Student-Athletes
Tutors are available in all academic subject areas for all student-athletes. The availability times are structured to meet the student-athlete’s schedule. Student-athletes are required to bring their text books, notes, and class outlines, as a reference for the tutors.

The Division of Student Services and Enrollment Management’s Orientation program use StudentVoice [53] as a means of assessing programs, activities, and services. StudentVoice provides fundamental tools for collecting and reporting assessment data, tracking software, consultations, and opportunities for participation in national benchmarking studies. The system incorporates a management component that provides forms for documentation, links to institution, division, and department items, integrates assessment projects with planning information, and planning report screens with a Word format feature.

The University’s Online Assessment Tracking Database (OATDB) provides summaries of assessment efforts conducted by the respective units to evaluate the effectiveness of the services they offer [54] [55] [56] [57].

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] Mission Statement, SHSU
[2] Division of Student Services
[3] Division of Enrollment Management
[4] Bearkat OneCard
[5] University Police Department
[6] Career Services Office
[7] Co-Curricular Transcript
[8] Computer Services
[9] Continuing Education
[10] Counseling Center
[11] Jack Staggs Clinic
[12] Psychological Services Center, Webpage
[13] Dean of Students’
[14] Student Guidelines
[15] Dean of Students’ Office
[16] Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)
[17] Registrar’s Office
[18] Financial Aid
[19] Financial Aid - Application Guide
[20] Scholarship Information
[21] First-Year Experience Program
[22] SAM 136
[23] Graduate Studies, Office of
[24] Graduate Research Exchange Flyer
[25] Student Health Center
[26] Student Health Center, Services
[27] International Programs (OIP), Office of
[28] Bearkat Learning Community (BLC)
[29] Freshman Learning Community (FLC)
[30] Lowman Student Center (LSC)
[31] Student Activities, Department of
[32] Student Organizations
[33] Program Council, SHSU
[34] Multicultural and International Student Services
[35] New Student Orientation, Webpage
[36] Graduate Studies - Orientation Booklet
[37] Recreational Sports, Webpage
[38] Health and Kinesiology Center
[39] Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum
[40] University Camp
[41] Pritchett Field Complex
[42] Residence Life, Department of
[43] Residence Facilities/Housing and Dining Rates, 2007-2008
[44] Student Advising and Mentoring Center
[45] Study Skills Program
[46] Sam Houston Memorial Museum
[47] Sam Houston Memorial Museum - Educational Opportunities
[48] Student Government Association
[49] Student Legal Services
[50] Mass Communication, Department of
[51] Newspaper - The Houstonian
[52] KSHU FM and KSHU TV-7
[53] Student Voice
[54] OATDB Report - SAM Center, 2006-2007
[55] OATDB Report - Student Activities, 2006-2007
[56] OATDB Report - Counseling Services, 2007-2008
[57] OATDB Report - Bearkat OneCard, 2007-2008


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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111