Navigator: the heightened Newman experience

Apr 22, 2020
Navigator, your Newman University GPS

Newman University will introduce all undergraduate students to Navigator, a super-charged student success program, in fall 2020.

The overarching idea of Navigator is to provide students with a guide to success while supplying them with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to succeed far beyond graduation.

“We know that we can provide an academic program that gives our students the knowledge to go out to the workforce to transform society,” said Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Joseph Shepard. “But Navigator gives our students the soft and critical skills that they need in order to be efficient and effective and to give them a step up above everyone else who they may be competing within the workforce.”

A team of Newman community members spent more than eight months speaking with thousands of current students, potential students and parents to find out what exactly they crave from their higher education experience.

It was no surprise that academics and scholarships ranked high on the list. However, the reasons behind the creation of Navigator were the less expected answers. The groups expressed needs in three additional areas.

Purpose and passion:

Students want their college education to carry them beyond classwork. They want help identifying or building upon their passion and purpose. Students said they find great value in an education and experiences that help them find a path forward, propelling them with a clear sense of direction. In summary, they want a personalized education plan that matches their passion and purpose, helping them achieve life and career goals.

Guidance and support:

Students want to go out on their own but they crave guidance and the confidence that they will be successful. They want a team of advisers to surround them and help them pursue their higher education. In summary, they want to make a difference in the world and need assistance on that journey.

Firsthand experiences:

Students want to make sure their education will serve them throughout their lives. They want to shape their own future and the impact they’ll have on others. That sense of self is developed through exposure to cultures and communities beyond the campus. They want experiences that challenge them to value dignity in every person and look at complex issues from various perspectives for solutions. In summary, they want to lead better, fuller lives.

As a university, Newman strives to stay ahead of the wants and needs of its current and potential students. So the Newman community built Navigator, which will serve as each student’s GPS — Guide to Personal Success — and is an answer to all of those areas of wants and needs.

Navigator will be implemented in fall 2020 for all undergraduate students. The system will be intentional about shifting the focus beyond coursework to include purpose and passion, surrounding students with a dedicated support team and letting students shape their own future and their impact on others.

From the moment they step onto campus through the day they graduate, students will have a dedicated support team, a personalized career path, leadership development opportunities and hands-on learning experiences.

Professor of Communication Audrey Hane and new Dean of Arts and Sciences Lori Steiner have been leading the initiative, spending hours researching and planning how Newman can best serve students. The model came to fruition through the support and input of many staff and faculty members.

Hane said, “The goal of the program is to unite the Newman community in a process of creating and implementing student experiences that reflect our mission and prepare students to be effective professionals and citizens. Having clearly defined experiences will attract students to Newman as they will know that they will be supported as they engage in hands-on learning and leadership training as part of their personalized career development.”

Each student will have a team of mentors and supporters focused on their successful college and career journey.

Newman has found its pre-existing strengths lie in all elements of Navigator but the program will ensure that all students will achieve these experiences.

“I’m excited to see the transformational growth of our students through this program,” said Shepard. “We know that we offer a first-class education system here at Newman University. I think that’s what we’re known for across Wichita and across the region. Students come here because they want to be challenged in the classroom. But I firmly believe that education works best when you combine the education that students receive in the classroom along with the applied learning that takes place outside of the classroom.”