November 20, 2015

SEDALIA—State Fair Community College is one of 17 colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Winter 2015 Models of Excellence recognition program.

Sponsored by Higher One, a leading provider of financial services to college and university campuses across the United States, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus.

SFCC was recognized for its campuswide Student Success Navigator Advising program, which pairs each student with a navigator as soon as they finish the application process. Navigators assist them with academic support services throughout their college careers.

Navigators are segmented by academic area both programmatically and physically, located not in a centralized advising office but throughout the SFCC campus to be near the classrooms and faculty offices of the majors of their assigned students. The idea is to better integrate faculty members with academic advisors so students have a seamless advising experience.

“When students walk into an office suite, they don’t know who’s faculty and who’s [an advisor],” said Dr. Joe Gilgour, dean of Student and Academic Support Services. “We like that. We want them to feel like whomever they talk to in that room, they’re in good hands.”

Navigator advising is only in its second year, so retention and graduation data related to the program are inconclusive. But the navigators’ comprehensive outlook can only benefit in the long run, Gilgour believes.

“It’s from A to Z,” he says. “They’re helping students from the moment they get through admissions all the way to career placement or transfer to another university.”

SFCC navigators and Admissions and Outreach staff share a philosophy of “relational advising,” added Gilgour. Just as navigators build relationships with incoming college students, admissions advisors build relationships with high school students by giving them information about the college application process, financial aid, etc.

“We’re helping students become college students,” said Gilgour. “If they want to talk about SFCC, we’re happy to do that.”

In addition to SFCC, Winter 2015 Models of Excellence honorees include: Governors State University (University Park, Ill.); Miami Dade College (Miami, Fla.); University of San Diego (San Diego, Calif.); Southeast Technical Institute (Sioux Falls, S.D.); Florida State University (Tallahassee, Fla.); University of North Carolina-Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.); Kent State University (Kent, Ohio); Georgian Court University (Lakewood, N.J.); Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.); Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Ariz.); Northwest Arkansas Community College (Bentonville, Ark.); St. Petersburg College (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Syracuse University (Syracuse, N.Y.); University of Massachusetts-Lowell (Lowell, Mass.); University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minneapolis, Minn.); and Excelsior College (Albany, N.Y.).

“The Winter 2015 honorees demonstrate insight into their student populations, as well as the ability to innovate in creative ways,” said Andrew Crawford, senior vice president of campus services and operations at Higher One. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”

University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at

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