Compass Services

Some examples of reasons for referral to the Compass include:

  • Lack of materials
  • Attendance and/or participation issues
  • Failure to log in or engage in an online course
  • Missing homework, quizzes or exams 
  • Behavioral issues within a class (using phone, arriving late, leaving in the middle of class, not taking notes, unprofessional tone)
  • Lack of response to instructor or advisor emails
  • Mild homesickness
  • Lack of a sense of belonging at BCU
  • Considering withdrawal/transferring
  • Basic financial concerns or questions 
  • Exploration of majors/change of major
  • Grievance issues with a faculty member, grades, or other academic experiences


Academic Advising:

Academic advising is based on the shared understanding that all students come to Briar Cliff University to pursue their academic and personal goals. Advisors utilize proactive techniques, such as one-on-one meetings to discuss student successes and challenges, connect students with the appropriate resources, co-create strategies that lead to the achievement of academic goals, and assist students in defining their passion and purpose so that the student’s decision about their major and/or minor is well informed and tangible.

Academic Navigation:

Academic Navigators provide support to students who require academic support by working with students to create plans for success. This service is especially focused on students who are struggling academically or who are on academic probation. Academic Navigators check in with students via email and/or meetings on a regular basis throughout the semester. Through BCU’s student success platform Starfish, a daily report is created that allows the Navigators to easily monitor the progress or lack of progress of students. In addition, students receiving this service are educated on the resources available within Briar Cliff University. Collaboration and commitment from athletic coaches and faculty advisors are key components to keeping students accountable and motivated for success.

Academic Peer Mentors (APMs):

Academic Peer Mentors (APMS) are undergraduate students who are hired to work with their peers on learning strategies, study skills, social integration and overall familiarity with BCU. APMs are required to participate in an eight-hour training to prepare them to assist students. APMs assist in athletic study halls, work with students individually who have academic grade concern flags and maintain office hours for drop-in support. Additionally, each APM is assigned to 6 to 8 students that they consistently work with throughout the semester. The main purpose of the APM program is for students to create relationships with a peer that mentors, supports and empowers them to overcome obstacles they may encounter in their college journey, as well as celebrate their academic victories and progression.  

Early Alery Program:

The Early Alert program is a partnership between the Compass and Briar Cliff University faculty. Within this program, faculty input academic data into Starfish every two weeks. This data generates a report for the Compass indicating which students are in most need of academic support. This early information-sharing and the support to students that follow upholds the purpose of the Compass: to increase student success, retention and persistence by calling all coaches, advisors, instructors, TRIO SSS and the Compass to reach out to, meet with, and create plans with the student to help them get back on the path towards success. 

Financial/Billing Navigation:

This service provides the guidance necessary for student’s financial success. The financial navigator educates students about how to apply for loans, the differences between the types of loans available to students and an overview of the Department of Education’s verification process.  In addition, the financial navigator provides information about borrower responsibilities and repayment options. In addition, the financial navigator coordinates and processes applications for Annual & Endowed Scholarships. 

Learning Communities:

Learning communities at Briar Cliff University are comprised of co-enrolled courses taught by faculty and instructors who are jointly committed to student success. All first-year students will be enrolled in a learning community with up to 20 students. The students will take three courses together: first-year seminar, Franciscan Values, and Writing in the Digital Age. The seminar class is a one-credit class created with first-year students' successful transition to higher education at its core. Students will learn academic skills, campus resources, and leadership strategies that will support them throughout their undergraduate experience. Franciscan Values exposes students to the core values that BCU operates from as well as significant events in the life of St. Francis and St. Clare. The third learning community course is a college writing course, Writing in the Digital Age. This course works to prepare students to write at the college level by engaging with course texts, research topics, and reflective writing. 

Multicultural Navigation:

Multicultural Navigation looks to provide holistic aid to all students of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Students receive unique support to their academic and social needs rooted in the Franciscan value of “Building A Caring Community”, which is led by key diversity principles within higher education. The Multicultural Navigator looks to increase student success by encouraging campus leadership opportunities, influencing cultural student connections, authentic cultural advisement, and developing cross-cultural programming.  Multicultural Navigation looks to connect with all students of color and can be an office of reference. If you are aware of a student that may be struggling at Briar Cliff related to issues of race or culture, please refer them to Jay Rhodes at 

Peer Advising Leaders (PALs):

The Peer Advising Leaders (PALS) are sophomores, juniors and seniors who team up to give incoming students an instant group of friends.  The PALS help new students with social activities that support successful transition into the institution.  PALS are an essential support to students through Charger Orientation, Charger Weekend, and the Learning Community model.  PALS act as positive role models that provide campus resource information and actively engage with new students on campus. 

Professional and Personal Development:

This service provides students with an opportunity to explore the career and graduate school options associated with their major(s)/minor. Through skill development programming, professional networking, and individualized coaching, students will be offered the opportunity to practice interviewing, get feedback on their professional documents, and feel supported and prepared to enter their next stage of life.