SAM Center celebrates 10 years of service to students
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 01:07
A wide array of desserts and treats were laid out as members of the campus community crowded the SAM Center to celebrate 10 years of service to students at Sam Houston State University.
As the name suggests, the SAM Center provides academic advising and mentoring to students, as well as time management and study skills sessions.
The SAM Center has achieved some hefty accomplishments since opening in 2002.
The National Academic Advising Association selected the SAM Center as a 2011 Outstanding Institutional Advising Program Certificate of Merit. Recipients of this merit are recognized for documenting innovative and/or exemplary practices resulting in improvement of academic advising service.
The SAM Center is accredited in much of SHSU’s increase in 4-year graduation rates, raising them from 17 percent of students graduating in four years to the now close-to-state-average of 30 percent.
"I’ve been in education now for 45 years, and I’ve seen students change through the years," Bill Fleming, Executive Director of the SAM Center, told the Texas Tribune.
"I really believe now that students need more nurturing by others than when I went to school."
Fleming has been with the SAM Center since it began; in fact, many of the original advising faculty members are still working there.
"I’ve been here the whole 10 years," Wesley Boyd, Associate Director of Academic Advising, said. "We have a low turn-over rate for the people that work [at the center]. I think I have the best job on campus, and that’s why: It’s fun."
When the SAM Center opened, it was made up of 12 chosen faculty members from various disciplines and two professional advisers. Since 2005, eight additional advisers have been added, including one who serves as a traveling adviser who goes to feeder community colleges to advise students transferring to SHSU.
"It’s never a dull day," Boyd said. "The freshman who just left my office with their mother has a different set of needs than the senior who is about to graduate that walked out moments before."
Since its establishment, 16 universities have visited the SAM Center and some have even patterned their own centers after the SHSU model. It’s also been recognized twice in the U.S. News and World Report College Edition.
At the celebration President Dana Gibson spoke along with former university president James Gaertner. Neither could be reached at press time.