And engaging it was. First up Charissa Jakusz, Dean of Students and Mike Ostman, Director of Student Activities, demonstrated Involvio, the multi-purpose, feature-packed mobile app. Rechristened Cardinals Connect, the app, as Jakusz described it, functions as the “virtual campus center” for St. Mary’s and already has over 900 subscribers. Among other features, users can advertise upcoming activities, create calendars and organize events, and monitor attendance with multiple tools including real-time analytics. A great tool for increasing student engagement and retention.

In the second half of the session, Karen Hemeker, Director of Access Services, introduced a group of students that had volunteered to come forward to talk about the learning challenges they face in the classroom. In very moving testimony, each student described their individual disability and talked about how elements of Universal Design theory employed in the Student Success Center have helped them to succeed. The students offered a number of specific ideas about how their instructors could facilitate a more effective learning environment. Instructor Matt Klosky supported the discussion and reminded the session attendees that, while some students may have come forward and asked for help in Student Services, many other students may not wish to identify themselves in this way so stay silent about challenges they face. Faculty then, would be well advised to employ many of the elements of Universal Design with the goal of better serving the needs of all of their students.

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