Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the College of Arts and Sciences' Undergraduate Academic Services office, addresses those attending the NUCLEUS open house.

Expanding opportunities

NUCLEUS welcomes new students to program's array of services

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1:09 p.m., Sept. 9, 2013--The University of Delaware’s NUCLEUS academic support program, which continues to expand in size and services, welcomed 124 students to its annual open house this month.

Just three years ago, the program began the academic year with a total UD membership of 83 students and a focus on underrepresented students majoring in the sciences, particularly the life sciences. Now, two years after a move to the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and an expansion to serve students in a variety of majors, NUCLEUS has some 416 members — 165 of them new this year.

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"We're about serving all students and supporting student success," said Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the college's Undergraduate Academic Services office. "We have an engaged group of students, and they know that we're here to support them and that we're expecting them to succeed."

The open house this year was somewhat different from similar events held in the past, Johnson said, with the changes put in place deliberately to reinforce the way the expanded NUCLEUS operates. The event was held earlier in the school year than usual, representatives from offices and programs across campus attended to speak and informally mingle with the students, and the meeting place was the new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory, or ISE Lab.

"We were excited to have the open house in this cutting-edge academic building," Johnson said. "We see our program as also representing the direction that higher education is taking."

Those attending the event to speak with students included CAS Dean George Watson, Provost Domenico Grasso, Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse and representatives from programs including Undergraduate Research, Study Abroad, Service Learning, Career Services, McNair Scholars, the INBRE/EPSCoR research consortiums, Office of Academic Enrichment, University Studies and the Honors Program.

The purpose was to highlight the kinds of resources that can help students by providing a variety of services, said Tara Falcone, academic program coordinator for NUCLEUS.

"We wanted to make students aware of all the support and academic enrichment activities that are available to them," Falcone said. "We don't provide all these services directly through NUCLEUS, but we partner with these experts and help students access them."

The open house was held early in the school year to make sure students could get connected to resources as soon as possible, Johnson said. In addition, some programs such as Career Services are planning to have drop-in sessions in the newly remodeled NUCLEUS office in Brown Lab, where additional space is now available for meetings and for students to work.

Falcone attended New Student Orientation sessions for the College of Arts and Sciences throughout the summer, letting incoming first-year students know about NUCLEUS and encouraging them to participate. Most of the current members are enrolled in CAS or the College of Health Sciences, although a few other majors are represented as well.

Falcone also developed an interactive "Knowledge Search to Academic Success," an online activity students complete to make sure they know how to find information about UD programs and policies.

The goal of NUCLEUS is to ensure the academic success, retention and graduation of students by encouraging academic achievement, leadership and service.

Article by Ann Manser

Photos by Evan Krape

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