Finding your way in college can be challenging, things like scheduling, keeping up with classes and eventually finding that perfect internship can require some help. This is what Mark Harrington, and the Griff Center have set out to do.
Mark Harrington is finishing his second year here at Canisius and is helping make the changes needed to ensure students of the support provided on campus.
Before coming to Canisius, he spent his time getting a bachelor’s degree at Emmanuel College, a Masters degree at Canisius College and finally getting his Doctorate at Regis College. He later went on to teach, as well as began his experience with academic and student affairs administration for 12 years.
Originally, Harrington came to Canisius to teach the higher education program and after his first year, he was asked to bring his experience to the Griff Center. He now has the title of assistant vice president of student success while still running the higher education program. In this past year, Harrington and the Griff Center staff have made changes that enhance the student support system.
One of the most noticeable changes made was to the Griff Center’s title. In previous years, it was known as the Griff Center for Academic Engagement. Now, the staff has changed it to the Griff Center for Student Support.
“The name change was made to bridge the gap between academic affairs and student affairs, and the Griff Center falls in the middle. A whole new field has emerged in higher education of student success and that’s what initiated the name change,” Harrington said.
In the last decade, the new field of education for student success has taught Harrington and other staff members about the importance of helping all different types of students. This led them to make changes with both staffing structure and their locations.
The Griff Center now has three locations serving different functions while all having the same goal of student success. The three different branches of success offered are academic achievement, career development and support services.
The academic achievement center is located in Old Main 013. Many of the issues handled here are for new and undecided students, transfer students and finally, student athletes. These issues can range from adding and dropping classes, academic leaves, academic coaching and more.
The second service offered is career development. This service is located in Horan O’Donnell 014. In this branch of support, students are offered help with major decision making opportunities, resumes and job or internship searches. In 2020, they plan on giving each class a specific coach to allow the coaches to become experts with the class assigned. Throughout the rest of the semester, they have planned events like resume Wednesdays, professional development Fridays and career fairs.
Finally, the last service offered is support services. These services range from student accessibility, veteran support, tutoring and study centers and academic skills workshops. The services provided here are to help students hit their academic goals each semester.
In each branch of support, there is a set group of individuals spending their time becoming experts to assist students anytime they need it. Harrington and his team are working each semester to help students achieve their goals, and feel comfortable every step of their career at Canisius. Griff Center staff can be contacted by email, or just by simply walking in.
“We are here to help support you and navigate you through your college journey, so know that any member of our team is willing to work with you,” Harrington said.