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Overview

We know that student support staff want to spend more time proactively advising students on the issues that matter. To that end, we created SSI, which deepens and strengthens student relationships with advisors and support staff. 

SSI introduces an innovative model for student support that pairs trained upper-year students called Student Success Guides (SSGs) with incoming first year students via the MentorHub NU app. SSGs serve as a navigation guide for students to quickly and efficiently connect with the experts and resources they need. SSGs will work with Success Coordinators, full time staff members who oversee SSGs and are also available to students to address challenges that require additional support.

Advisors

We’ve made it easier for you to focus on your craft, have meaningful conversations with students and share your expertise through SSGs and Success Coordinators who can help navigate transactional or simple queries – freeing your time to proactively support students’ learning objectives and steer their academic future.

Faculty

SSI equips students to show up with the information and resources they need to succeed in the classroom. This alleviates the number of non-academic questions you receive so you can focus more on supporting students with their academic, research and professional objectives. 

Staff

We’ve doubled down on our commitment to provide the best support system in higher education. The supportive accountability model bolsters students by enhancing their overall well-being and streamlining our existing technology platforms.

Syllabus Blurb

The Student Support Initiative (SSI) makes it easier for you to own your college journey by giving you access to the continuous support and guidance needed to thrive. College is a huge transition, but you don’t have to do it on your own; your support team includes: 

  • Student Success Guides (SSG): Upper-year peer mentors trained to support you in exploring your interests, building strong academic habits and encouraging your well-being by improving access to campus resources, academic advisors and technological tools. SSGs are your single point of contact with the information you need. 
  • SSI Pack: First year peer-cohort that facilitates connections and community building with other students. 
  • Success Coordinator: Full-time trained staff member who will oversee and support SSGs in engaging with you.
  • MentorHub NU: An interactive navigation support app that’s always a click away. You will be able to search for information and engage with your SSG or SSI Pack to ask questions and seek support.

Built on the Science of Supportive Accountability

Learners need consistent support and guidance to thrive throughout their Northeastern journey. Thus we introduced SSI as a customizable, flexible and student-centered support model, which ensures that Huskies can navigate the global opportunities and pathways that are most relevant to their goals. 

Research shows that apps alone don’t offer a solution to addressing challenges around well-being or academics. But a holistic, single point of contact approach to support is highly effective. Drawing on a health care model of “triage support,” a navigation guide regularly engages the learner, identifies current challenges and concerns, celebrates successes, and monitors progress.

SSGs and Success Coordinators provide supportive accountability, an evidence-based approach to mentoring that ensures the scaffolding necessary for the learner to follow through on tasks, plans and goals. As challenges or needs arise, SSGs will connect the learner to appropriate supports – e.g., academic advisors, student support staff and technological tools – for immediate engagement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

SSI is an effort driven by the Office of the Chancellor to enhance the ability of incoming first and second year students to successfully engage the continuous support and guidance they need to thrive from day one. 

SSI introduces an innovative model for student support that pairs trained upper-year students called Student Success Guides (SSGs) with incoming first year students via the MentorHub NU app. SSGs serve as a navigation guide for students to quickly and efficiently connect with the experts and resources they need. SSGs will work with Success Coordinators, full time staff members who oversee SSGs and are also available to students to address challenges that require additional support.​

Advising and caseloads are high across the board, leading to a risk of burnout. Advisors stated a desire to spend more time proactively advising students on the issues that matter. The initiative supports the strengthening of student relationships with advisors and support staff. SSGs support students by addressing common questions and successfully engaging needed resources. This ensures time spent with advisors and support staff is focused on topics related to their academic experience and professional aspirations.

The General Studies Program provides staff and peer support to first year students through academic advisors, peer mentors, and nationally certified peer tutors, and the Explore program offers pre-orientation advising as well as support for international students and N.U.in students. 

SSI complements these existing efforts to ensure that students fully leverage all resources. SSGs are navigators who assist students in connecting with skilled advisors and support staff across the entire university–not just in academics and well-being, but also in career services, co-op, global experiences, and more. This individualized referral support not only considers student background and interests, but also identifies the offices and individuals across the university best equipped to support them.

We use an app called MentorHub NU to support interactions between students, SSGs, SSI Packs and Success Coordinators.

MentorHub NU supports interactions between students, SSGs, and Success Coordinators. While the platform does not integrate into existing systems, it will not create additional administrative burdens for advisors and support staff. Success Coordinators will follow up with advisors as needed. 

We are examining ways to better integrate various software used across the university to simplify the overarching technology infrastructure around student support and provide more visibility and transparency into the referral and follow-up process.

 Anonymous student data will be used to enhance our processes and systems and ensure that students can fully leverage university resources. Data may also be used for research purposes to inform future university policies and broader scholarship.

 SSGs are upper-year students trained to monitor learner needs and requests and refer them to the appropriate resources. SSGs are the first point of contact for students in their cohorts and will leverage technology to support efficient and effective weekly check-ins with each student. While students are always welcome to reach out to advisors and support staff directly, the SSG will enable students to identify, access and engage the appropriate resource more efficiently.

A Success Coordinator is a full-time trained staff member who will oversee and support SSGs in engaging with students. Success Coordinators will partner with SSGs, NU advising and student support staff to ensure that students receive adequate support on larger issues.

An SSG is trained to help students navigate Northeastern’s support system and resources across a variety of issues, including academics, financial aid, extracurriculars, career planning, physical and behavioral health, athletics, study abroad, and research opportunities. SSGs act as navigators who can direct students to the appropriate resource across the university.

SSGs and Success Coordinators will be assigned to students based on college and program location at the beginning of the semester.

Research shows that apps alone don’t offer a solution to addressing challenges around well-being or academics. But a holistic, single point of contact approach to support is highly effective. Drawing on a health care model of “triage support,” a navigation guide (SSG) engages the learner regularly, identifying current challenges and concerns, celebrating successes and monitoring progress.

SSGs provide supportive accountability, an evidence-based approach to mentoring that ensures the scaffolding necessary for the learner to follow through on tasks, plans and goals. As challenges or needs arise, the navigation guide connects the learner to appropriate supports – e.g., academic advisors and technological tools – for immediate engagement.

Recent research in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence notes that the overall effect size of such targeted programs can be more than double that of non-specific relational approaches. Similarly, a meta-analysis of programs for higher education students has found that those with a supportive component are significantly more effective overall compared to programs without supportive elements or those that rely purely on providing information.

The Education Innovation team tracks progress on variables such as broadened and appropriate student usage of university resources and supports, improved follow-up and use of resources, improved user experience for students, and meaningful interactions between SSGs and their respective student cohorts. We also measure a reduction in the percentage of purely transactional inquiries to ensure that advisors and support staff are able to spend more time on proactive student support and focus on their areas of expertise.

The Student Support Initiative is distinct from SAIL. SAIL was a digital platform to help students, alumni, and lifelong learners document and track their personal and professional growth by cataloging their own learning experiences throughout their lives. While SAIL was a reflective tool, MentorHub NU is designed to be interactive navigation support for information that brings an immediate benefit to the student. Students can not only search for information but can also engage their SSG to ask questions and seek support.