A new pilot advisement program called the O-TEAM (Oswego Team for Effective Advising and Mentoring) will provide select incoming students with an array of contacts and resources with the goal of supporting student success and improving retention.

The Review of Academic Advisement Planning (RAAP) Committee -- co-chaired by Mehran Nojan, director of institutional research, and anthropology faculty member Doug Pippin -- developed the program for a more team-based approach to advising incoming freshmen to better acclimate them to expectations of college and where to find resources to help them remain on track.

Kayle Light Curtin, newly hired professional adviser who is coordinating the initiative, is in the process of building the teams that will support students.

“There was a good foundation set by the committees,” said Curtin, who started in early May. “I’m ironing out the details to take the structure into a process.”

The pilot includes seven majors: communication and social interaction, creative writing, electrical and computer engineering, graphic design, physics, public justice and public relations. Curtin reports to Adrienne McCormick and Julie Pretzat, the respective deans of the College of Liberal Arts and Science and School of Communication, Media and the Arts, the schools housing these majors.

The advisement team for each student also will include a faculty mentor, career coach and instructional librarian -- all predicated on the student’s major -- as well as a hall director and financial aid contact.

“The goal is ultimately to increase retention and student success within the pilot programs and to see if this advisement model can be effective throughout the campus,” Curtin said.

The associate deans will announce the program to impacted freshman at new student orientations, then Curtin will follow up personally. “We’re working to introduce the students to the O-TEAM early so they know the people they have to go to over the next four years to support their success,” she said.

The opportunity is a sort of homecoming for Curtin, a 2011 Oswego graduate with a public relations major. Her time at Oswego built skills for advising and otherwise helping students, as she served as a Laker Leader, peer adviser and student assistant at The Point. She also gained experience in building success as president of community service organization Alpha Phi Omega, helping take the organization from a single member to around 50 by the time she graduated.

After earning a master’s in higher education administration from Stony Brook University, Curtin went back to helping students professionally, most recently spending five years at Cazenovia College as an academic coach and counselor. Her experience there included coordinating a similar program that takes a team-based, holistic approach to student advisement.

So far at Oswego, Curtin and the team have created major maps (a visual representation for each major of academics and extracurricular activities, including internships, student organizations and study-abroad opportunities); finalized an assessment and communications plan; met with campus departments to explain how this model can help connect students with resources; held faculty mentor training; and established internship opportunities within the O-TEAM office.

The near-term to-do list still includes coordinating a Fall Academic Meet and Greet and creating a faculty mentor toolbox with resources. School-year activities will include course registration, helping students utilize DegreeWorks plans, connecting students with support services and organizing different aspects of the two-year pilot.

“Ultimately we want students to feel connected to their programs and feel their advisers are available to help them find success,” Curtin noted. “We want students to feel confident and know that we’re here to support them.”

For more information and the team behind the project, visit https://www.oswego.edu/o-team.