Director, graduate assistant at FHSU receive five-state regional awards for helping students succeed

The Office of Persistence & Retention at Fort Hays State University received two awards recently for the five-state region of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Region IV conference of NODA: Association for Orientation, Transition & Retention in Higher Education took place from Feb. 21-23 in Houston.

Brett Bruner, director of Persistence & Retention at FHSU, accepted the Region IV Innovative Program Award for the ACCESS to Success-Student Success Plan. The Innovative Program Award is presented annually to a program or unique approach to a challenging situation and/or specific campus concern or need. NODA strives to recognize leaders for generating new approaches to meeting student needs. As the recipient of the Region IV Innovative Program Award, the ACCESS to Success-Student Success Plan will automatically be nominated for the national award, to be announced at the annual conference in November.

The ACCESS to Success-Student Success Plan was designed in response to K.S.A. 76-717 to adopt an individualized plan of success for each student. The ACCESS plan focuses on the five key elements leading to student success: advising, connections, circle of support, education and sense of self. The plan is woven into multiple aspects of a student's first year, from introduction during Tiger STRIPES: Freshman Pre-Enrollment Days to the Tiger Impact fall orientation weekend experience to the Freshman Seminar course. The ACCESS plan was highlighted for recognition as an innovative and cost-effective plan that could be easily replicated on other campuses.

Eric Wilson, graduate assistant for Persistence & Retention, received the second award, the Region IV Outstanding Graduate Student. The Outstanding Graduate Student Award recognizes one graduate student for his or her contribution to the campus orientation program, staff success, creativity and outstanding abilities.

Wilson is a first-year graduate student in the Higher Education Student Affairs master's program at FHSU. He has served as the primary functional lead in working with the TigerIQ early alert warning and intervention system as well as coordinating the first Spring Academic Recovery Workshop for first- and second-year students wanting additional academic skills prior to the start of the spring semester. Wilson also serves as the primary advisor of the Tiger Impact welcome coordinators and welcome leaders in coordinating the Tiger Impact fall orientation weekend experience.

For more information, contact Bruner at or call him at 785-628-5824.

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