Newly Formed A&M-Corpus Christi College to Become Student Success Initiative Hub

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – “We all remember the first time we left home to go to college,” said Dr. Melissa Jarrell, dean of the newly formed University College at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “Among the feelings of excitement, students inevitably go through uncomfortable moments, but my goal is to help them see this campus as their new home away from home – well before their first day of classes.”

Jarrell plans to start cultivating the University’s relationship with admitted students as early as their senior year of high school; a time she says can be overwhelming to potential students who are inundated with information about universities, degree programs, student life, and campus visits.

“With all of this information, why should they pick us,” she asks.

Hoping to make the decision to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi easier, Jarrell will spearhead targeted initiatives focused on the unique needs of first-year and transfer students through University College. The newly formed college, which debuted September 1, will encompass several programs and units aimed at enhancing student success.

The three central units brought together are the Department of Undergraduate Studies (DUGS), the Honors Program, and the Center for Orientation, Advising and Students in Transition. Several programs directly related to student achievement within the new college include the First-Year Learning Communities Program, Bachelor of Applied Science degree programs, University Studies degree program, Academic Advising and Anchor Team, Islander Academy dual credit program, Viking Islander Program (VIP), and the first-of-its-kind, Island Harbor Foster Care Supervised Independent Living program. New Student Orientation, now known as Islander Launch, will continue working in collaboration with other units throughout the University.

Jarrell says it takes a dedicated team to ensure the many programs under University College continue to run smoothly. A team she says who accepted additional work without complaint and enabled her to grow her responsibilities from getting DUGS up and running in 2017 to providing excellent service to nearly 2,000 first-year Islanders and thousands of newly admitted high school seniors. Dr. Rita Sperry, Corpus Christi native and three-time A&M-Corpus Christi alumna, will join Jarrell’s leadership team as the college’s new associate dean.

“I am most excited that the faculty and staff in DUGS and advising, who have worked so hard and whole-heartedly believed in our mission, will finally get to see the fruits of their labors,” said Jarrell. “Their amazing teamwork and willingness to go above and beyond for our students is one of the main reasons I am sitting in this new role.”