SEM As a Connector: Building Relationships in a New Normal
This article seeks to make the case for how relationships are essential to meeting the tapestry of student needs by examining experiences and challenges of several student threads in that tapestry, using both two-year and four-year institutional
perspectives. How faculty, staff, and administrators respond—or don’t—in building rapport and connections that help students feel they belong ultimately ensures institutional enrollment health, the core aim of SEM. This article also examines how
the 2020 pandemic has disrupted our ability in the twin pillars of SEM—recruitment and retention—to meet student needs, not just with transactional services but with the deeper bonds of belonging.
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