by Geoff Larcom, Published June 18, 2013
YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University has opened a new, drop-in advising center designed to help students with their academic and career plans by bringing support and planning resources to a convenient and vibrant location.
The Francine Parker Advising Center, which opened this week, is located in Room 120 on the EMU Student Center's ground floor, adjacent to the food court area and gaming room at the north end of the facility, which serves as the hub of campus activity.
The advising center is among a variety of EMU initiatives that seek to help students graduate on time, increase student retention and aid in academic and career-related decisions. The center was dedicated during a ceremony on June 18, following the regular meeting of the EMU Board of Regents.
"Improving our advising function as a means of helping students stay in school, progress academically and secure a good job is central to our mission at Eastern," said Kim Schatzel, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs at Eastern. "We want students to quickly get good perspective and advice in a location they enjoy, and in a manner they are accustomed to."
The center is modeled after modern technology retail centers, in which roaming advisors in the front area can rapidly respond to short inquiries and help navigate students through updated online resources regarding academic and career planning.
Expert professional staff is also available onsite for longer consultations. Housed in the rear of the facility is a state-of-the-art training room, to be used for small group sessions and conferencing.
The center is named after Francine Parker, chair of the EMU Board of Regents, whose donation helped fund the facility and who has made improving student advising and related student services a priority during her tenure on the board.
"We are very serious about continuing to improve our retention and graduation rates, and this new center is an example of that goal in action," Parker said. "Today's students face plenty of challenges, and we want to do everything we can to facilitate their academic progress at Eastern."
Parker was appointed to the board for an eight-year term in January 2007. She is the executive director of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which provides health care benefits to UAW retirees. She has more than 40 years of healthcare experience, and retired as president and CEO of Health Alliance Plan in 2008.