A regular stream of students is a common sight at the end of the second-floor hallway in Lawson - not to attend class, but to visit Dr. Melissa Hickman. Dr. Hickman is the Dean of Student Success and a professor of accounting. The dean position was created last year to provide students with the resources they need to graduate and be successful, including coordinating the First Year Seminar.
Any student can get guidance from Dr. Hickman, and she will reach out to those who are identified by professors or coaches as struggling. She talks students through their issues and helps connect them with tutoring, counseling, financial aid, or another professor, or provides guidance on whatever else they might need. She develops success strategies and works closely with each student throughout the assistance process.
No matter the issue, Dr. Hickman realizes how busy each student is and reminds them to “take a break and breathe.” She also stays busy, enjoying attending activities her students are involved in. Many students she mentored last school year still value that relationship, and they stop by her office just to hang out, do schoolwork, grab a snack, or chat.
“Be trusting,” Dr. Hickman says about asking for help, “Trust the process, self-advocate, and communicate. Build relationships. We have a campus full of students, staff, and professors who want to help each other be successful.”
In just one year, the new Dean of Student Success is proud to have already seen struggling students turn things around and thrive, and says, “I just want them to know that I love them.”