The Q & A With Campus Partners series is designed to connect faculty with personnel and offices on campus in order to better serve Belmont’s students. This installment features David Sneed from the Growth & Purpose for Students (GPS) office.
What is your title and how long have you been at Belmont?
I currently serve as the Director of the GPS Program. I have had the privilege of serving for seven years now.
What brought you to Belmont?
After serving for over 20 years as a VP for Student Life and/or Dean of Students at small institutions, I wanted to seek a role that allowed me to work more directly with students and spend MUCH less time in the “administrivia” areas (especially campus budgeting).
What do you do in your role as Director of GPS?
Recently we’ve been reduced again to a staff with one full-time person, so my role will again change. Our entire model is about service to students in the general area of “academic success” and discernment. Because of the support of Drs. Burns, Davis, and Schneller we have been able to grow to meet more needs. We have an excellent corps of GPS Coaches, and my role is now to support them and office operations. That said, I will always focus on a few students who need my specific experiences and skill sets.
How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
We focus on 3 areas: Discernment & Direction, Academic Engagement, and Academic Success/Recovery. In each area, our focus is on individual student meetings. We also maintain an active Convo Series (Wednesday’s at 10 a.m. in JAAC 1034) in order to give students a broad understanding issues related to academic success and engagement, as well as providing an open invitation to have an individual meeting.
- Discernment & Direction – Exploring and/or affirming academic programs. Too many times students do not know about the many offerings that could help them better achieve their goals.
- Academic Engagement – We help students understand how to be a better student. Much of this information comes directly from Teaching Center speakers and resources, but also from experienced/successful students. This includes academic planning, understanding available resources, enhancing academic skills and strategies, etc.
- Academic Success/Recovery – This is working with students with difficult circumstances (e.g. hospitalization, illness, emotional distress, etc.) that causes absences and/or a feeling of failure. We work with professors and students to develop a plan to salvage academic credits and still move forward in degree completion.
In what ways do (or can) faculty partner with your office?
Primarily by allowing us to speak to your class or having us listed as a resource for your students. We want you to know that if your student is concerned (or you are concerned FOR your student), we can be a place they can come for support and planning.
What would you like faculty to know about the GPS office?
We are here to partner with you to help your students be successful. Ideally, we love to help them identify their purpose and passions and relate those to their academic program. We would love for them to better understand why faculty and professional staff are here – to help them love learning and gain skills and experiences so they can meet their purpose.
You can find more information on the GPS office here.