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As Services Evolve, CHIP Gets a New Name: ASIS

By David Simpson

There's no question that Old Dominion University's Center for High Impact Practices had a high-impact name. But over time, that moniker reflected the place less and less. So last month it was retitled the Office of Academic Success Initiatives and Support.

That's right: CHIP is now ASIS. The revised name better sums up the menu of services offered, said Lisa Mayes, the office's executive director, who answered a few questions about the change.

When was the Center for High Impact Practices launched? When did you take charge of that division?

During the 2015 Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Integrative Learning and Design Institute, an ODU team of faculty and administrators developed an ePortfolio implementation strategy for the following year.

Implementation efforts revealed that a broader focus on high-impact practices would be more appropriate to grow, support, and sustain an institution-wide initiative that would include interconnected high-impact practices. In Fall 2015, ODU leadership established the Center for High Impact Practices, which was formerly known as Academic Enhancement. Its primary mission was set to coordinate the implementation, assessment, and expansion of high-impact practices (HIP) to improve student learning in the classroom. I led the center as executive director.

When and why was the name changed to the Office of Academic Success Initiatives and Support?

Two important events occurred that gave us pause about our direction - COVID 19 and the Lumina Project. First, during this pandemic, we saw an increase in the need for direct student support services. The requests from students and faculty in need of tutoring resources, academic coaching, academic success workshops, course-specific help, and virtual tools grew. This need also shed light on the struggle to locate these services (ODU has nine tutoring locations).

Secondly, the Lumina Project funded a year-long study - led by Provost Austin O. Agho and Vice President of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services Don Stansberry - as a campus-wide read and study. The book "Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success," by Dr. Tia Brown McNair, led to marked improvements in how we support our students. Certain themes arose from these conversations that led to our changes. We determined that the name CHIP did not resonate with students. We also recognized that the name did not fully convey all we have to offer. In addition to HIPs, we offer a variety of academic support services (Student Support Services, academic coaching, coordination of tutoring, oversight for Tutor.com, mentor training and success workshops).

After several conversations with the team and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Brian Payne, we received permission from Provost Agho to proceed with the name change. The new designation took effect Sept. 6. We all agreed that the name ASIS is inclusive of all of our programs and services and better defines who we are for those needing our support.

What else has changed? Your mission?

Our mission is more direct and to the point - to support academic success through group, online, and individualized support services and high-impact educational activities.

We haven't made many changes; however, we are shifting our focus a bit. Over the last few years, we have done a great job in bringing awareness to high-impact practices across the colleges. This is evident in our student-focused LeADERS program and the Community of HIP Council, which is a community of practice for faculty and administrators. We recognize that now there is a need to increase awareness and delivery of academic support services so students and faculty have a better understanding of the campus resources. One major change is the Academic Resource Center (ARC), located in the Perry Library to serve as a one-stop-shop for students and faculty. Our message to the campus is, "Need help passing your course? Go to the ARC." "Need a tutor or mentor? Ask the ARC." It is simple and convenient.

We have recently added Themester to our portfolio, and you will be hearing a great deal about this as it develops.

Anything you'd like to add?

Little-known fact: We are the Office of Academic Success Initiatives & Support (OASIS); however, we prefer ASIS!

Visit the Office of Academic Success Initiatives and Support online at www.odu.edu/asis.

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