Connecting to campus is a key strategy for enjoying academic and involvement experiences in college. Yet when one is taking classes miles away from the physical campus, it is often difficult for students to feel engaged and part of the campus occurrences. Fort Hays State University’s Student Affairs division is working to help virtual students engage to campus through services and support.
From admission to graduation, Student Affairs is working with virtual students via email, phone calls, and a web presence to provide students with the tools for success. Once enrolled, students can become oriented to campus through an adult learner/virtual student orientation that streams live in August (and is posted for viewing at a later time); they can also connect with other virtual students in TigerConnect, an online first-year experience program with opportunities for students to create discussions, make friends with other virtual FHSU students, and find answers to questions. The virtual success center, a part of Early IQ, refers students to campus resources when they are referred for assistance from an FHSU faculty or staff member, parent, or other student.
Of course, many services offered by Student Affairs are available to virtual students. Online and telephonic financial counseling, for both personal financial counseling, as well as financial aid assistance help our students gain financial literacy. Students with disabilities work with staff in the Kelly Center to gain access to accommodations and specialized counseling and resources. Referral services for mental health or alcohol/drug counseling to a provider in the student’s area are provided, as well as a limited number of Skype counseling sessions. If a student wants resources, there are many videos and PowerPoint presentations of the TIGERS Series, mental health workshops, and other student success strategies posted on our website. The Student Health Center reaches our virtual students through Student Health 101, an online magazine devoted to students’ health and wellness.
Students can learn about what’s happening on campus through the online presence of the University Leader, as well as through “allstudent emails” that are sent to virtual and on-campus students alike. The campus also wants to know what virtual students think, and encourages our virtual students to participate in campus feedback surveys that help us better serve this population.
Whether on-campus or virtual, connection to campus is possible for all students. Get engaged, get connected, and get involved at FHSU!
-Shana L. Warkentine Meyer
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Student Affairs Website
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