Currently available to online undergraduate students, the resources Online Student Services provides will soon be available to Saint Leo online graduate students.

Beginning with the Spring I 2017 academic term, the resources provided by Online Student Services that are currently available to online undergraduate students at Saint Leo will be available to graduate students studying online, as well.

Comprised of Student Life and Career Services, Online Student Services strives to create a sense of community by uniting online students and enabling them to engage with each other, staff and the university.

"Our objective in Online Student Services is to foster engagement to increase student satisfaction and success – to provide individualized support to align students' education and career goals," says Shadel Hamilton, assistant vice president of online student and faculty services for Saint Leo WorldWide.

"I know of no other university that offers the type of student services that we do at Saint Leo specifically targeted to meet the needs of online adult learners while also incorporating the university's core values. We are very pleased to be able to extend these valuable resources for personal, academic and professional development to our graduate students."

Student Life

Online Student Services has two components: Student Life, coordinated by Student Life Specialist Jessica Graves, and Career Services, managed by Career Advisor Nancy Cheek.

According to Graves, Student Life provides online students with opportunities to engage with other learners, professors and industry professionals through online associations and clubs. Currently, 12 online associations and clubs meet virtually once or twice a month. There are nine program-specific adult learner associations and three special topics clubs.

Program-Specific Associations

Psychology Criminal Justice Sociology
Business Accounting Computer Science
Human Resources Liberal Arts Healthcare Management

Special Topics Clubs

Student Communications (student newsletter)

Student Peer Mentoring (general topics for student success)

Military & Families (topics for active-military, veterans and family members of veterans)

In addition to being able to build connections and contacts through virtual networking, graduate students will have the opportunity to present research or take on leadership roles in these virtual groups, says Graves.

"Students who join our associations and clubs see it as a way to be more connected," says Graves. "They want to take advantage of the professional networking benefit and they're looking for ways to broaden their knowledge in their fields outside the classroom. Plus, membership and leadership positions in these associations are terrific items to have on your resume."

Graves adds that as graduate students become involved, there will always be opportunity to expand and develop new associations and clubs that address their particular needs.

Career Services

Nancy Cheek says that her goal in Career Services is to be an additional professional resource for non-traditional learners.

"Our objective is to offer proactive, strategic resources that help students enhance their marketable skills," says Cheek.

"The goal is to make it as convenient as possible for adult online students who are juggling multiple responsibilities in their lives to receive the professional development support they need."

Areas of assistance include:

Employer Research Networking Opportunities
Resume Research Job Search Assistance
Using Social Media for Careers Branding
Interview Preparation Professional Associations
Certification Resources Military Career Transitions
Professional Letter Writing Career-Related Webinars

Cheek offers ongoing, one-on-one support by phone and email to students, in addition to a robust program of interactive webinars on a variety of critical career-related topics. Webinars on topics from salary negotiation to LinkedIn provide an opportunity for participants to network and gain skills and knowledge that will help with their career development and job search efforts.

"Our Leaders in the Industry webinar series is very popular with students," says Cheek, "because it provides an opportunity for them to meet and gain valuable insight from industry experts. The question-and-answer portion of the program, in particular, is always lively and informative."

While graduate students are usually already well established in their careers, many are seeking advanced degrees to move into a new field or to take their careers in a different direction.

"I look forward to assisting these experienced professionals achieve the next step in their careers," says Cheek.

Virtual Student Services Fair

All graduate, as well as undergraduate students, will receive an invitation to attend a virtual fair on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017 to learn about the resources and opportunities available through Online Student Services.

Online graduate students will then be welcome to begin joining clubs and associations, attending events and utilizing online student services on Monday, Feb. 6. Online graduate students will be sent an email this week announcing the exciting launch of Online Student Services.

Be sure to continue to check your Saint Leo email, as well as the Graduate Admissions Facebook page, for information and updates in the weeks ahead.

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