Student success is Odahlen’s passion

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director

MINOT, N.D. – Beth Odahlen has spent the past 17 years helping students navigate their higher education experience.

After being named the director of Minot State University’s newly opened Academic Support Center, she feels the passion for helping students will only increase.

“My philosophy in all the positions I’ve had here and elsewhere — and what the Center’s underlying philosophy will be — is to help them find their way in and out of the classroom,” she said.

Odahlen was named the director after the services of 11 former Minot State departments were moved to the Academic Support Center, housed in the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library. The new 10,000-plus-foot space will be a one-stop shop, merging academic advising, access services, career services, engagement honor roll, first-year experience and peer mentoring, new student programs, peer tutoring, Starfish, supplemental instruction, The Writing Center, and POWER.

The new space will help the ASC better support students through shared services.

“I don’t want to say it will be better, but, maybe, just different,” she said of the one-stop shop. “We hope it makes it more efficient. We are already transitioning some of the current roles of individuals and some roles are changing. It will be great to have different opinions and thoughts on how to accomplish our goals.”

The Center has been something Minot State has discussed in the past, but an emphasis on student support moved that conversation from talk to reality over the past couple of years.

“It just makes sense for a campus of our size,” Odahlen said. “It works best to put people together that have a commonality and make it easier for students to find their way to other services.”

Odahlen graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of North Dakota and earned a master’s in exercise and sports science with an emphasis in sports psychology from the University of Utah. She began her career in the College of Heath, student service coordinator at Utah before moving to Minot State to become the director of MSU’s Center for Extended Learning (CETL) 10 years ago.

During that time, she has strived to make the student experience her first goal.

“Since I started as an academic advisor, I’ve tried to help them achieve a fulfilling and rewarding experience,” she said. “Every time I meet with a student who is successful in whatever avenue they chose; it is very rewarding.”

While the Academic Support Center is in its infancy, Odahlen believes Minot State has a strong background of supporting students through the various programs currently in place. Marketing the programs will be a focal point for the center.

“I’m not sure the campus as a whole recognizes the amount of programming we do now,” she said. “We hope, when we are all in the center and working with each other, we will be able to better market those programs. Students, faculty, and staff will have a better understanding of what we offer because if you come over, it will all be there.”

Odahlen looks forward to moving the Academic Support Center forward to meet new, ever-changing challenges.

“The goal is to increase programming that helps students not only understand the transition to higher education, new and transfer students, but to give them skills to eventually walk across the stage and to find employment in whatever field they want,” she said. “We know that what students want is evolving and we need to keep up with those changes.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 09/06/19   

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