must follow with filling out a form, but
they often just walk over and help. It
has been great having them right next
door.
DR:
With 16 years of experience at IU
Southeast, you can point students in
the right direction.
KP:
I know this campus like the back
of my hand. I can usually find the
answer they need. Plus, I was a non-
traditional student here myself, and I
worked in the Admissions Office before
I came to the ASC.
DR:
You oversaw the move to the new
location during the University Center
renovation. How do you think the new
facilities have affected the non-
traditional student experience?
KP:
Originally we occupied a very small
area that was able to seat 18. It was
right next door to the Credit Union on
the bottom floor of the UC.
DR:
I think you had only three or four
computers available for students.
KP:
I would see students walk up
[
to the center], see that there was
no room, then turn and walk away.
There were times when we would have
a social event and students would
sit two on a chair. During the UC
renovation we were moved to the Life
Sciences building. We were there for a
year and we occupied the psychology
observation rooms. I didn’t have
that instant access to the students
because I was behind a one-way
mirror. It created some hilarious
situations. Students didn’t know it
was a one-way mirror; they thought
it was a simply a mirror because they
weren’t able to see me. They’d come in
and do things like pick their teeth; I’d
have to get up from my desk and say
That’s not a mirror.” We could fit even
fewer students in that location than in
the other office.
The attendance has quadrupled in
the new facility. We didn’t lose any
students during the moves. The
students followed me. That just
shows how much they want to be in
an environment with students like
themselves. When we moved to the
new facility we had three tables; now
we have 10 and can seat up to 85. We
started out with four computers and
now we have 12. My one challenge is
the fact that we are up on the second
floor and we’re off the beaten path.
That scared me initially. People found
me. I had my “regulars” and they told
their friends. Faculty sent the adult
students my way. There was a lot of
marketing on my part: rack cards,
business cards, the programs. The
Adult Student Center is sort of a buzz
word now on campus. I think students
feel comfortable here; it is open 24-7.
Students who work different shifts
can come in when they get off work,
it’s bigger, and there is more room to
spread out. We even have a resource
library for the veterans and non-
traditional students. It is like their
coffee shop; the Adult Student Center
is their home away from home.
DR:
You touched on this a little bit
when you talked about the technology.
Are there any other significant
challenges that you feel non-
traditional students face?
KP:
Math. If you don’t use your math
skills, you will lose them. Many adult
students also struggle with foreign
language classes. They would be
able to learn a foreign language,
but the pace seems fast to them
when they’ve never been exposed to
a language before. [When taking a
foreign language] they have several
hours of homework every night; you
throw in two or three more classes,
add to that a family, job, and children,
and it becomes very hard for them.
I’ve known some students who have
changed their majors because of
the foreign language requirement.
They know that there is tutoring for
Spanish or French or German, and we
also encourage them to use the math
lab. Those classes are the biggest
challenge for them.
The other challenge is just their life.
If they lose their jobs, how do they
pay for school? They have to pay car
insurance and gas and the non-
traditional student typically has family
on top of that. They have confidence
that they can do it, but they also
realize that somewhere, something
else will have to give. It may be a
child’s baseball game that they will
have to miss, or a program at school.