Unit Profile: Student and Program Services
Debra Cabrera, director of student services, and Katty Jones, director of program services, head the Student and Program Services unit, which falls under the umbrella of Student Affairs. This unit acts as the liaison between Wagner students and administration, and between students and faculty. From the moment students submit their deposits until they graduate and their final grades are signed-off on, Katty and Deb's unit tracks their academic progress.
Each May, the Student and Program Services unit begins communicating with incoming students via email and required online registration sessions. These communications continue throughout the summer so that students feel connected to Wagner even before attending the new student retreat. Incoming students also receive communications from a peer advisor in their program area, assigned by Deb and Katty's unit, which further connects them to Wagner.
The Student and Program Services unit comprises Diana Beck, assistant director of health and doctoral programs; Gaby Schoenfeld, assistant director, executive MPA and dual degree in Judaic studies programs; Pam Kavalam, administrator, student services; and Christine Ramos, administrative aide. This unit assigns faculty advisors and coordinates group-advising sessions, facilitates program feedback sessions, and hosts walk-in appointments throughout the school year. They field questions such as ‘What courses should I be taking and when?' to ‘I'm not doing well in this class, what do I do?' to ‘Am I on track for Capstone and graduation?' and everything in between. Each semester this unit runs an academic progress tracking report to see what students they need to reach out to, to discuss strategies for being successful.
This unit works with the Office of Career Services on career advisement and the professional experience requirement, which requires all MPA and MUP students who enter the program with fewer than two years of full-time relevant experience in the field to complete a minimum of 280 hours of degree-program relevant internship or experience before enrollment in Capstone.
The Student and Program Services unit also works with the Office of Special Events on events and issues related to convocation. The unit also works closely with the faculty support staff and program directors, offering feedback they receive from students.
Additionally, the Student and Program Services unit tracks the evolution of programs, makes suggestions to fill in holes in the curriculum, and manages the implementation of new initiatives. In fact, Wagner recently received final approval to launch a new dual degree program with NYU's Masters Program in Global Public Health. The dual degree is an MPA-MPH (global) and will be a three-year program. Admissions will begin recruiting for applicants to start in the fall semester of 2011.