One of the more recent individuals to transition out of their position at NJIT is Dr. Sarah Vandermark, former Executive Director of the Center for Student Success. Dr. Vandermark started off her NJIT career in 2004 as an academic advisor for the then College of Computing Sciences, now known as the Ying Wu College of Computing Sciences. For almost a decade, she continued her role as an academic advisor before become the Director of the Advising Success Center in 2013. Just a couple of years later, in 2015, she was promoted to become the Executive Director of the Center for Student Success.
A notable project that Dr. Vandermark has headed was the creation of the Advising Success Center (ASC), which helps oversee undecided, probationary, and transfer students. Dr. Vandermark realized there was potential to help the aforementioned population of students have a smoother transition into their university and major.
Thanks to her and the rest of the ASC, the retention rate for undecided, probationary, and transfer students rose to match the retention rate of the rest of the university. Dr. Vandermark fondly recalled this accomplishment, “We felt so good with that statistic, because the retention rate for our students was supposed to be lower than the rest of the university’s. We were able to disprove that and match our retention rate with that of the university’s.”
Another project that Dr. Vandermark successfully contributed to was creating a committee for academic advisement in order to help with the university’s graduation rate. This committee enables advisors to get on the same page about what is going on at the university so that they can better assist students through graduation. This helped lead to the creation of the Center for Student Success as well as Disability Services in partnership with the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CCAPS).
In reference to the summary of her NJIT career, Dr Vandermark would like to thank Dr. Charlie Fey for giving her the opportunity to create the ASC and Center for Student Success, having a vision for advisement at the university, and simply believing in her. She would also like to thank Grace Gangitano for taking a leap of faith and being by her side throughout the last five years, creating a model for advisement at the university, and really trying to help students in need.
This fall semester, Dr. Vandermark will be transitioning into her new role as the Assistant Provost for Student Success at New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City, NJ. She hopes to help increase the retention for undergraduate students and develop an advisement model for NJCU.
“I feel like I’m a change agent. I want to create the same model of a warm supportive advising environment we have here,” says Dr. Vandermark.
Elizabeth Sheridan, a third year Civil Engineering major, wants to thank Dr. Vandermark for being an exceptional mentor, “Sarah Vandermark was a really great boss and role model. Working in the office with her, I learned a lot about how to be a good leader. She was always willing to help others, even when she had lots of other things to do. The NJIT community was really lucky to have her for the last 13 years, but we all wish her the best of luck at NJCU!”
When asked about her time as NJIT, Dr. Vandermark said, “I truly loved my experiences at NJIT and feel that NJIT has given me the opportunity to become a true professional in my field. I’m going to miss the students and my Center for Student Success team the most. I’m going to miss all of you so much. The students at NJIT are amazing. I’m so happy to be leaving behind a warm and supportive team here that has the best interest of the students in mind.”