New graduation help desk launched
Winstein HungbuiMercury Staff
POSTEDOctober 29, 2018
A new help desk on campus will assist students struggling to graduate on time. The new initiative, called the Graduation Help Desk, works with students, faculty and staff from different departments.
Headquartered in the Office of Undergraduate Education in Founders, the help desk is a primary resource for students who need help coordinating academic, financial or personal issues across schools or offices.
Although the GHD is intended for undergraduate students, Associate Director of Academic Outreach Angela Scoggins said that the help desk will guide any student struggling with academic or non-academic problems.
“The purpose of it is to help students overcome obstacles with school and resources to graduate on time,” Scoggins said.
Courtney Breechen, the associate dean of undergraduate studies, said the program was adapted from one successfully implemented at UT Austin.
“(UT Austin) had shared with the UT System how successful the initiative had been, and the UT System funded (the) graduation help desk as a keystone project through all academic UT institutions, including UTD,” Breechen said.
The GHD does not replace academic advising. Scoggins, who runs the GHD, said she recommends that students who are behind on their degree plans consult their adviser before directly visiting the OUE or GHD.
Breechen said the help desk addresses issues outside the normal scope of adviser duties, such as problems that require input from two or more departments.
“If an issue is really complex or requires multiple parties from across different units on campus, that’s where the adviser would refer you to the graduation help desk,” she said. “Angela can help facilitate conversation between you, the associate dean, the Office of Financial Aid (or) whoever might need to be engaged in developing a creative solution to whatever issue you might have encountered.”
The help desk is also a resource for faculty and staff that may need to refer their students to external help.
“We’ll serve anyone who comes our way, even if it’s just a referral,” Scoggins said. “Sometimes faculty and staff need a singular point to help identify, assess a student’s needs and refer them in the right direction.”
Breechen said the OUE plans on marketing the service to each school within the university.
“We’re going to be making sure advisers understand how to leverage this resource, making sure that students can come to us directly (and) making sure that faculty in all the schools are aware of the barrier to graduation when they’re working one-on-one with students,” she said.