By Grace Apostol
New faculty and staff members have joined the College community as anew semester begins on campus.
One of these new members is Professional Academic Advisor Morgan Powell.
Powell, has been at WC since June, academically advises freshmen students.
“I do this by helping students to understand the academic requirements for the college and specific majors, while providing students with knowledge of experiential learning experiences,” Powell said. “In addition, I help students create academic plans for graduation and major exploration.”
Associate professor of Anthropology and Dean of Student Achievement and Success Aaron Lampman was part of the hiring team for Powell’s position.
“When I took on this position and started working with the Retention Working Group, what we found was that we were paying too little attention to advising here at WC,” Lampman said regarding areas of improvement.
Lampman’s position helps to ensure students’ success as well as to help find ways to grow this success.
According to the Office of the Provost and Dean page on the WC website, “The Dean of Student Achievement and Success helps students solve problems that interfere with their academic progress. Working collaboratively with Student Affairs and all parts of the college, the Dean oversees programs, support, and interventions that help students learn and grow.”
The College, with the help of Lampman as well as the Retention Working Group, went on to hire Hillary Bateman, Assistant Dean of Advising and Advocacy, who went on to work with Lampman and the RWC to take next steps in order to help students achieve.
“The first year is the biggest area where students find that they become overwhelmed and sometimes they don’t stay,” Lampman said. “So we said, `how can we better support students in their first year?…Do we want to find somebody who can help first year students directly?’”
Before coming to the College, Powell worked as a secondary English teacher within Prince George’s County, Md. She also worked as an Assistant Coach for the Softball team at Bowie State University in Prince George’s County, Md.
Regarding her experience, Lampman believed she was the best candidate resulting from the national search for this position.
“Powell is brilliant. She is personable, caring, she came to us with experience, working with students to retain them particularly through advising…,” he said. “She had a lot of experience working with students…”
When attending college, Powell received her Undergraduate degree in English, going on to complete her Master’s Degree in Education at Bowie State University.
Regarding this new position she has taken on, Powell said she loves working with students and helping them to achieve.
“This position allows me to interact with students in a way that not only focuses on their needs in the classroom, but their needs as people and future professionals in their area of interest,” she said. “I believe in college and think that there is so much to gain from this experience, so I love that I am able to be a part of it.”
The personableness of the position also is very important to Powell within her position.
“I am rewarded every time a student walks into my office or sends me an email to ask a question or even just chat,” she said. “I feel rewarded when a student trusts me with guidance in their academic and holistic journey through college.”
Regarding the hopes from her colleagues, Lampman hopes that Powell is able to aid in retention within the first year of college.
“First year retention is the lowest retention rate at any college,” he said. “What we are hoping is that Powell will show us a personal connection between the advisor and the student that goes much deeper than academics, but begins to incorporate working with the student on financial difficulties, and working with them on social engagement will change the retention rate for the first few students working with Powell.”
For Powell, she hopes to achieve the ability to aid students with skills to take outside of the College.
“I hope to help students matriculate through their college experience with additional skills and confidence to take on the outside world,” she said. “I also hope to help students make their college experience here enjoyable by helping to best determine ways that they can engage in experiential learning in addition to the traditional academic learning style.”
Photo Courtesy of Morgan Powell
Photo Caption: Morgan Powell was named the College’s new freshmen academic advisor this fall semester.