University College dean to tackle student retention

By Gus Bode

Almost a semester after the University College was fully implemented, Mark Amos was named Associate Provost and Dean for the student support model.

The model was first established with the restructuring of the division of Student Affairs in December to pull together units and services on campus to enhance student success and offer support during their first year. The model, used by other universities across the country such as Illinois State University, was approved by the SIU Board of Trustees executive board Feb. 14 and ratified by the entire board April 14.

Amos, an associate professor of English and director of Saluki First Year, said the college puts Saluki First Year, Core Curriculum, University Honors, Learning Support Services, New Student Programs, Career Services, Pre-major Advisement, the Center for Academic Success, First Scholars and Student Support Services all under one organizational structure.


Mark Amos, an associate professor of English and director of Saluki First Year, has been named Associate Provost and Dean for the University College, which was designed to enhance success in students’ first year at the university. provided photo

More than 30 percent of freshmen in 2009 did not return for their sophomore year, according to Institutional Research and Studies, therefore the retention rate was 68.9 percent.

Provost John Nicklow said University College will be used as a key tool for increasing the retention rate.

“A key element in increasing student success rates is retention, particularly through the first year of college,” he said. “We’ve already had some small gains in this area, and with the evolution of the University College and Dr. Amos’ appointment, I expect more.”

Amos said in his new position he is responsible for planning the budget, providing leadership for the direction of the college and developing and leading research projects.

Nicklow said Amos was chosen because of his knowledge regarding first and second year students and said he understands the vision of the University College.

Amos said he hopes to reach the full potential of the college by launching a success course required for all incoming students in fall 2012 and develop a peer mentorship program for first-year students.


He said he will also expand the depth of student support structures and programs, and enhance the effectiveness of advisement early in students’ careers.

“Dr. Amos, and others in the leadership team, are committed to improving student success and student service,” Nicklow said. “We will monitor relevant metrics accordingly to make sure we are making desired educational gains.”