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November 08, 2013
Vol. 55 No. 9

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Mercado embraces new role

Caroline Mercado, associate dean for student support and development, strives to give first-year students on campus the support they need to make their Susquehanna experience a successful one.

"Our intent is really to provide students coming in through the door the ability to identify how our respective units would aid in their transition," Mercado said. "We want to further aid and help develop support systems and resources for [students], to help them become better engaged and have success on campus."

Mercado has been repositioned under the Provost's office, where she reports to Associate Provost Lisa Scott. Mercado was formerly the assistant dean for Student Life and director for First-Year Programs and operated under the division of Student Life. She provided services to first-year students, transfer students and parent services. She provided resources to aid not only the incoming students, but their families as well.

A reorganization of the way in which various departments across campus, including the Center for Academic Achievement and Center for Diversity and Social Justice and International Student Services, work together has brought about the position Mercado is currently occupying. She brings her position to life through her work with first-year students and preparing all students to be successful during their time at Susquehanna and post-graduation.

One of Mercado's responsibilities is focusing on the CDSJISS and what this department is doing to assist students.

"We're really looking at what that unit does to support, not only educating the community, but also supporting the fact that we're bringing in a lot more international students," Mercado said. "We need to support their experience not only here at the campus, but in the United States as well."

As the population of international students continues to grow, Susquehanna has begun to offer more support and accommodation for these students. According to Mercado, a new partnership program called English Language Learner will be introduced onto campus next semester.

"For me, the greatest part of my job is working with students. I love it. I'm passionate about it," she said. "I think college students have changed over the course of time, so I think keeping abreast of that and introducing that into the work we do is critical."

While one of Mercado's main focuses is first-year students, she understands upperclassmen need attention too. Between prepping new students for the transition to college life and preparing seniors for their departure, sophomores and juniors may sometimes feel they are lacking the attention necessary for a successful college career.

"There is a real understanding that students get a lot of support over the first year, and then once they come back as sophomores, they're like, now what?" Mercado said. "The university is aware of that and knows these students' need the attention."

Mercado is currently conducting an external review of her office to see how they are serving the student community.

"I'm excited for the future. I'm excited to be in a more open space, which is going to provide more access and visibility to first-year programs. When students are to," she said.

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