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Davidson Joins Wildwood Staff as Director of Student Services

September 26, 2014

Laura Davidson  
Laura Davidson

From advising to career exploration, continuing education through assessment, Laura Davidson has covered almost every aspect of student services during her community college career.

 

Davidson recently took the role of director of student services at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood and brings 24 years of community college experience to the campus.

 

“It’s hard to pick just one thing that I value most about working at a community college,” Davidson said. “I like being a part of a learning environment. I like working with people who need help and making a difference in their lives.”

 

Davidson holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s in postsecondary counseling from the University of Kansas. In 1985, she moved to St. Louis, and in 1990, she joined St. Charles Community College as an adviser for both career technical programs and career counseling.

 

In 1996, St. Charles Community College decided to adopt the Compass placement test, and she took on the additional role of assessment coordinator. She opened the first assessment center at St. Charles, which was also the first computerized assessment center at a Missouri community college.

 

In 2001, Davidson became the coordinating counselor for advising and the Assessment Center. When that functional area was split, she became the associate dean of student development, where she worked closely with deans and continued advising students on academic suspension.  

 

Another reorganization allowed her to reprise her role with assessment and take on the role of organizing the college’s commencement ceremonies.

 

Davidson excels at process improvement, and has created digital and process solutions for record-keeping and resource sharing. But most of her energy has been focused on the student experience.

 

“I think one of the biggest challenges that students face is navigating the college experience,” she said. “That’s something that I think we can really help with. We often think that students are tech-savvy and if we put information on our website, they’ll find it. But that’s not always the case.”

 

At St. Charles, Davidson improved processes to help students better understand the advising resources that are available to them and how to successfully manage the admission and registration processes. She proposed and implemented mandatory group registration and advising for first-time freshmen, developed an online registration preparation program for first-time freshman using Moodle, implemented a computerized appointment system, and devised a formal system for advising warning and probation students. She also started the “Ally” program at St. Charles, which is similar to STLCC’s “Safe Zone” program.

 

She has shared her experience and knowledge with colleagues throughout her career, presenting on the subjects of transfer shock, group advising, text anxiety, career exploration and development and assessment. 

 

She believes her position gives her a unique perspective.

 

“I think I have the best of both worlds,” said Davidson. “I get to see things at a macro level, while at the same time being on the ground floor.”