Saluqi Success Pathway (SSP) Hubs serve as lifelines for Southwest students
Going to college for the first time can be challenging and even scary. Whether you are a high school senior, a home-schooler, or an adult learner returning after years in the workforce, often there are more questions than answers – “What am I going to major in?”, “Where can I find a computer lab?”, “How do I check my grades?”, “Where is the advising office?”, “How do I get a mentor?”, etc. The Saluqi Success Pathway (SSP) Hubs are lifelines that connect Southwest students to the value-added resources the college offers and to some much-needed answers.
When Southwest embarked upon the Achieving the Dream (ATD) journey (https://www.achievingthedream.org/), the Retention and Student Success team realized there was a disconnect between the students and the vast amount of resources and helpful answers available at Southwest. This motivated the team to work with partners throughout the College to rethink its approaches to student support.
Thanks to a TN Promise Forward grant funded by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the Saluqi Success Pathway (SSP) was established to foster student success. The first order of business was to establish a footprint or hub for the program where students could engage with the resources available to them. “We needed an unused space in strategic locations across both main campuses to promote a welcoming environment for students and connect them to student supports necessary for successful matriculation from orientation to graduation day,” Student Retention and Success Executive Director Jacqueline Taylor said. Unused spaces at Macon Cove Campus and Union Avenue were recommissioned as official SSP Hubs where students interface with student success counselors in open, readily accessible spaces they frequent.
The SSP Hubs are located in high-traffic interchanges on the two main campuses: outside of the Saluqi Den on the Union Avenue Campus and in the MAB Lobby on the Macon Cove Campus. They are staffed with compassionate SSP coaches, program specialists, and student volunteers who are dedicated to helping students and peers, alike, achieve their educational and career goals. The SSP coaches provide customer service as the first-point and ongoing points of contact. They offer one-on-one and/or small group support primarily for Tennessee Promise eligible students and adult-learners, as well as the general student population. No one is turned away.
The SSP Hubs grew out of this innovative program that helps students navigate the initial rigors of acquiring a college education. The SSP is comprised of supportive professionals who help Tennessee Promise eligible students and adult learners transition into college life and access all the resources available to them at Southwest.
“We recognize that establishing a strong academic foundation and genuine sense of belonging are critical to a student’s success, especially in the first year,” Dr. Taylor added. “We are truly committed to cultivating a culture of academic excellence and caring here at the College in order to help all students achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals.”
SSP Coach Brenda Rayner says the hubs are relaxing, nonthreatening commons where students gather and engage. “They stop by for reasons varying from getting the location of a classroom, to learning how to schedule an appointment with their advisors, to securing a tutoring appointment, or to simply borrow a stapler,” she said.
The SSP Hubs also offer community service opportunities for Tennessee Promise students to meet their scholarship requirements. The coaches keep in touch with these students through emails and the Signal Vine two-way-texting technology platform. They inform students of important dates and deadlines and follow up with students who have received early alerts about pending or potential situations that can hinder the successful completion of their college goals.
“The one-on-one, personal contact SSP coaches experience with students promotes the culture of caring and academic success that Southwest is committed to ensuring for each and every student,” Rayner said. “Coaches listen to students’ stories, provide encouragement during their struggles, and celebrate their victories. Their investment of time compels students to go that extra mile and not give up.”
Students also take advantage of Chromebook checkout, access to the Saluqi Success APP, connection to supplemental instruction, and advising. “Our goal is to offer needed support to Southwest students in a very purposeful way,” Dr. Taylor said. “We are here to help students reach their goals. For some that means furthering their educational pursuits at a four-year institution. For others it means entering the workforce with a livable wage and the potential for career growth,” Dr. Taylor said. “Either way, the team is focused on Saluqi Success by offering an intentional pathway to help students get there.”
Contact the HUB
Macon Cove Campus: (901) 333-4261 | Union Avenue Campus: (901) 333-5570
Meet us at the HUB
Macon Cove Campus, Academic Building B Lobby or Union Avenue Campus, B Building outside the Saluqi Den
Brenda Rayner returns to Southwest as new Saluqi Success Pathway Coach
Staff and students were excited to see Brenda Rayner working at the Macon Cove Campus after a 2-year retirement hiatus. Rayner was the former associate director of advertising and community relations in the communications, marketing and community relations department. She returns to Southwest as the new Saluqi Success Pathway (SSP) Coach.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Rayner earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Jackson State University and a master’s degree from Belhaven University. She retired after an extensive career in higher education and with non-profit organizations for which she held a variety of positions.
Rayner looks forward to providing assistance, resources and counsel to students as the new SSP coach. “The SSP Hub is such a remarkable place to work! I love the one-on-one with the students. I get to hear their stories firsthand and help them achieve their educational and career goals,” said Rayner.
If you would like to send a word of welcome to Brenda, contact her at (901) 333-4122 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or stop by the SSP Hub located on the Macon Cove Campus in the MAB Lobby.
Welcome back, Brenda!