Some people think that learning online is a solitary experience. Unlike the camaraderie that occurs in a traditional college classroom, it’s assumed that online students fly solo — when in fact at Johnson & Wales University Online, nothing could be farther from the truth.
From day one, JWU Online students are surrounded by a support system. Chief among them is a dedicated academic advisor, who helps ensure students' success before they log in to the first class through when they complete their very last assignment and graduate.
“The role of the academic advisor is to work as a team with the student to guide and advise them to achieve their academic goals and success,” said Online Academic Advisor Maureen Coutu.
Why does Johnson & Wales invest so solidly in this aspect of the student experience? After all, many of its students are responsible adults, working full-time, raising a family or doing both. Actually, it’s for these very reasons that advisors play a key role, combined with the fact that this very well may be the first time a student has taken an online course.
“My role is to serve as the primary point of contact to help students navigate the world of online education,” said Michael O’Malley, senior online academic advisor.
Antonio Aiello ’18 was one of these students. After earning his associate degree in culinary arts from JWU Providence in 1992, he enlisted in the military, thinking he could finish his bachelor’s degree after basic training. Instead, he was given orders that prevented him from returning to school. More than two decades later, he decided to complete his bachelor’s with his alma mater online.
Aiello and his advisor, Jessica Rounds, grew close over his time at JWU. They’d talk about coursework and what class he’d register for next, of course, but they’d also talk about life in general. “We had conversations, just conversations,” Aiello recalled with a smile.
Rounds said, "We discussed courses both current and future, but then would discuss business ventures, military and personal goals, as well as everything in between. Getting to know Antonio and build a relationship with him about where he was headed made it exciting to pick courses that pertained to not only his degree, but also his goals outside of the classroom."
Aiello and Rounds’s relationship isn’t an anomaly at JWU Online — just ask Gwen Capers-Wilson ’00, ’17. “Mike encouraged me from the first moment of contact,” she said. “I did feel as though I was supported 100%.”
Ultimately, Online Academic Advisor Tom Strawn sees the impact of the relationship starting while the student is studying but reverberating much longer. “I advise students on how to best leverage available high-value resources that will help them successfully complete their program, and how to optimize their JWU educational experiences to achieve personal and career goals.”
Reach out today to learn how you can start on your degree: Call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected]. You can also fill out the “Request Info” form on this page.