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Melissa Burwell, Melissa Burwell Carthage’s assistant dean of students and director of the Center of Student Success, aids students by overseeing student success advisers, developing the College Success Seminar, and providing ongoing support and outreach to all Carthage students as part of the Holistic Advising Model. Get to know Ms. Burwell!

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What drew you to Carthage and how long have you been here?

“I started at Carthage in July 2020 and came to Carthage because of its commitment to ensuring the success of all students. I wanted to be part of a community that had the student experience in the center of all it does.”

What are the responsibilities of your position?

“I lead the Center for Student Success and oversee our team of student success advisors. We work together to support students as they transition to college, and we help them when they are faced with barriers to their success once in college. I also administer the SOS (our early alert system) and participate in a variety of committees including the Student Success Team and the Holistic Advising Leadership Team. Finally, I manage the Holistic Care Team and the Navigate Leadership Team as part of the Moon Shot for Equity initiative.”

What is your favorite thing about working at Carthage?

“I love my students and colleagues. Also, being right next to the lake is pretty great too!”

What is your best piece of advice for current Carthage students?

“This might seem super old-fashioned, but the following three things are the secret to success in college: Firstly, write down your to-do’s on a post-it note or in a notebook and review them regularly. Secondly, go to class. Thirdly, ask for help — going to college means learning to be interdependent, not just independent.”

What is something you’ve learned from working with students?

“Students have taught me to slow down and listen to what’s not being said as much as what is being said. They also teach me a lot about managing expectations — my own and others. I am reminded each day that this is their college journey, and it’s my job to walk beside them, not for them.”

You’ve worked at many different colleges and organizations throughout your career. What is one way that Carthage stands out?

“Carthage really cares about its students — there are lots of people who want students to be successful and are doing their best to make sure students have the resources they need to thrive.”

Is there anything you’d like to say to the parents of Carthage students?

“I want parents to know that resources like the Center for Student Success are here. Ask your student who their student success advisor is and encourage them to connect with them early in the school year. And if your student faces a challenge of any kind — whether as a first-year student or a senior — we are here to help. Know that you are not alone — we are happy to partner with your student and you to figure out a plan and a way forward.”