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Transforming student recruitment, retention and program initiatives

Recent transitions within the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Office of Student Success will further boost the college’s student services offerings related to recruitment and retention. Through staff expansion and reorganization, along with additional opportunities to establish new program initiatives, OSS is well positioned to enhance student services.

Melinda Gallagher and Colton Metzger have joined the team as new student success coordinators. Gallagher will work directly with online graduate students while Metzger will assist undergraduate Health and Well-being students. Cole Smith and Kimberly Cameon have joined OSS in their current roles as web/graphic designer and communications specialist, respectively. Lindsay Augustine will lead OSS initiatives as the newly named assistant dean for student and enrollment services.

“The current conditions of the pandemic have caused a major disruption to just about every industry, including higher education. With that in mind, it became necessary for the CPASS Office of Student Success to examine how we were serving our students. As a result of this self-assessment, we recognized a gap in meeting the needs of two unique student populations: Health and Well-being students and online graduate students in CPASS programs,” Augustine said.

Gallagher, who previously served as the OSS program assistant, envisions expanding services for online graduate students. “I hope to create more touch points with students and provide additional opportunities for them to engage with each other and the university. A unique element of our online programs is that our students are located across the country and world and come from many different backgrounds. I hope to share their stories and connect them with various resources and opportunities across campus,” Gallagher said.

Metzger, who previously served as a developmental advising specialist for Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, will focus on supporting student retention and completion within the college’s Health and Well-being program, while using innovative, data-driven methodologies. “My goal is to predict potential barriers to student success and proactively circumvent these obstacles,” he added.

“With the expansion of our Office of Student Success staff, we are now able to better meet the needs of the students in facilitating conversations related to academic success and career planning. The impact of the new positions will be tremendous as we continue to navigate higher education in the COVID-19 era. Moving forward, our new team members will provide us with a wonderful opportunity to maintain a strong, student-centered mission for many years beyond the challenge of the current pandemic,” Augustine said.

“The changes we have made to the CPASS Office of Student Success are designed to make our College stronger and help us remain innovative as we recruit and retain students and effectively prepare and help place them in their professions after graduation. We are excited to make these changes while assembling an amazing group of professionals into a strategic, student success dream team to help us lead this charge. These organizational shifts combined with the individuals we have recently hired into these new positions---Lindsay, Colton, and Melinda---will help us succeed now and in the future,” Jack Watson, professor and dean, said.

Gallagher, from Ashburn, Va., earned her B.S. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from WVU (2019). She transferred to WVU during her undergraduate degree and says that she quickly fell in love with her program and the state. “My favorite part about West Virginia is the unlimited outdoor recreational activities. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to biking and hiking in the summers, it’s easy to fall in love with the area. As a college, we strive to promote physical activity and involvement with the community, of which I am proud to be a part of that effort,” she added.

Metzger, from Fort Recovery, Ohio, earned his BS in Psychology (2014) and an MA in Educational Leadership (2016) from Wright State University. He moved to Morgantown following his master’s degree to begin a career in higher education. “I specifically wanted to work for a large, public, R1 research institution. WVU was a perfect fit. My favorite thing about Morgantown and West Virginia are the mountains and hiking trails. Compared to where I come from, the scenery is quite a sight to behold,” Metzger said.

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