The Student Success Center has welcomed a new director this semester, Ashley Sweat. Sweat has previously worked at Eastern Kentucky University in other positions such as a training assistant in the training resource center, in the First Step to College Success Program and an adjunct professor in GSD. After briefly working elsewhere, Sweat returned in 2021 as a program coordinator before becoming the director of the Student Success Center this semester.
While Sweat has just begun learning the ins and outs of her position, there are many things she already enjoys about the job, including how varied her work is from day to day.
“When I was growing up I said I’d never work behind a desk,” said Sweat. “And now I have a desk job, but I’m always doing something.”
Sweat also likes the hands-on nature of work in the Student Success Center, getting to interact with students face-to-face and occasionally working with classes.
“I learn so much from them. I’m an eternal learner and every day I wake up and learn so much from them. There’s no way I could be successful in this position without them,” said Sweat.
Sweat has faced some challenges coming back to in-person work, mainly catching up with processes that have changed in her time away. Many programs and systems she used to work with changed, which has been an adjustment for Sweat. She’s learned how to use SLATE, the program students use to make advising appointments with the Student Success Center.
Sweat has been at EKU for some time, both as a faculty member and a student. She received her master’s degrees in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and Student Personnel Services in Higher Education from EKU. She came back because she likes the sense of community on campus and feels comfortable with her coworkers.
“It feels like family. My mom is an advisor in Justice and Safety, I got my graduate degrees here, my husband graduated from here, but also I’ve been here so long that a lot of the staff are like family,” Sweat said.
Sweat obtained her doctorate as a working mom and wants to be a role model to her daughter, who she often brings to campus with her.
“She loves coming to campus with me. EKU’s community is so welcoming that I’m fortunate enough to be able to expose her to that early,” said Sweat.
In previous years working at EKU, Sweat has been recognized several times for her work. In 2014, she received the EKU Outside Service to University Programs Award. In 2015, she received the EKU First Year Courses Outstanding New Instructor Award. She was also given the Outstanding Staff Equity Award in 2018.
Sweat has also been involved in many activities outside of her official position. She taught Student Success Seminars for many years as an adjunct professor and served as an advisor for Black Student Union. Sweat aims to impact the students she works with by being a figure they can look up to.
“As a black woman with a doctorate, I hope that I am a positive role model not only to minorities but to women as well,” said Sweat. “Just making sure we empower each other.”
To learn more about the Student Success Center and where to make advising appointments, visit https://successcenter.eku.edu/.