Feb 27, 2024  
2021-2022 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Success Center

SUNY Potsdam’s Student Success Center (SSC) provides students with one-stop access to a centralized, integrated group of student service offices. All offices are located on the first floor of Sisson Hall. Center personnel work together to assist students in understanding and meeting the College’s requirements and in obtaining timely, accurate information and assistance. The SSC staff strives to guide and encourage students to effectively use available resources in order to promote their success at SUNY Potsdam and beyond..

For more information, contact the Student Success Center at (315) 267-2580, ssc@potsdam.edu, or visit us in 128 Sisson Hall.

Academic Advising

Each matriculated student is assigned an academic adviser who will give advice to assist the student toward timely graduation. However, the ultimate responsibility for understanding and completing degree and graduation requirements lies with the student, not the adviser. All non-matriculated students enrolling for nine or more credit hours and all matriculated students must consult with an adviser before they will be permitted to register for classes each semester. A student’s primary adviser will then release the advising hold, allowing the student to access the online registration system.

Students are assigned an adviser soon after their arrival on the SUNY Potsdam campus, usually reflecting the student’s area of interest. If students have concerns about their adviser assignment, or have questions about academic requirements that their adviser cannot answer, they may contact the following offices: Arts and Sciences Advising Coordinator in Dunn 103 or Academic Advising and Support in Sisson 128 if they are in the School of Arts and Sciences; Teacher Education Advising Services in Satterlee 111 if they are in the School of Education and Professional Studies; and, the Office of the Associate Dean of The Crane School of Music in Bishop C222 if they are in The Crane School of Music.

When students officially declare a major or a minor, the department assigns them an adviser in that department. Students will have an adviser assigned for each major and minor they declare and will need to see each adviser every semester before registering. Advising should be a continuing process not limited to selection and approval of courses. Students should discuss with their academic adviser any academic difficulties in their classes, problems outside of class that affect their academic performance, career planning issues, and special academic opportunities such as internships, study abroad, cross-registration, departmental awards, and honor societies. Students should also consult with their adviser before making important academic decisions, such as withdrawing from a class, selecting the S/U grading option, or attempting a semester credit overload. The academic adviser receives copies of transfer credit evaluations and can access progress reports in Navigate, course summaries on BearPAWS and degree progress audits on BearDeN.

Note: Each student is responsible for satisfying requirements for graduation as listed under College, general education, and major/minor requirements. This shall include notifying the Registrar’s Office in the event any course, whether failed or passed, is repeated and regular consultation with an assigned adviser.

For more information on Academic Advising, please call (315) 267-2580 or stop by Sisson 128.

Adult Learner/Non-traditional Student Advising

Non-traditional students are usually 25 years of age or older by the time they completed their first semester. Or, they have a two consecutive year break in their education. They could hold a GED rather than high school diploma. A student could be a qualified Veteran or currently serving in the military. Additionally, a student may be or have been married and may have dependents. A qualified adult learner may also be an emancipated person of any age.

Adult Learner/Non-traditional students are represented on campus through the Student Success Center (SSC). There is also a designated safe space/lounge located in 107 Carson Hall where for students to enable them to relax, study or hold meetings. There are lockers available by the semester for student use located in both Carson and Sisson Halls. To obtain a locker a qualified adult learner simply needs to request a locker from the Student Success Center in 128 Sisson Hall. The Adult Learner Adviser facilitates programs, advises students, answers questions and provides useful information on commuting/carpooling, childcare, tutoring, and computer technology assistance.

The student organization on campus created to support and assist adult learners/non-traditional students is called VALOR (Veteran and Adult Learner Organization). You are encouraged to reach out to this organization through the Student Success Center.

The Omicron Zeta Chapter (SUNY Potsdam Chapter) of Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL) is the international honor society chartered expressly for Adult Learner / Non-Traditional students who are 25 years of age or older. Each Spring semester, a number of non-traditional students who meet the national standards for membership are inducted into this prestigious honor society. Members may apply for national scholarships for up to $2,200. 

In order to become a member of ASL Honor Society, the students must 1) be identified as an Adult Learner from the above criteria; 2) have completed at least 24 graded credit hours at SUNY Potsdam; and 3) have completed at least 12 hours of Liberal Arts Credits (use of transfer credits to meet this requirement is allowed); 4) have a minimum GPA of 3.20; and 5) have a junior or senior standing.  For more information, contact Adult Learner Coordinator in the Student Success Center at (315) 267-3398 or stop by Sisson 128.

Adult Learner Organization

Adult Learners (also known as Non-Traditional Students) are encouraged to join VALOR (Veteran and Adult Learner Organization). This student-run club is recognized by the Student Government Association (SGA) and is created to support and enhance the inclusion of this group in the college and local community. VALOR meets regularly each semester.  As a member you are not required to attend, but it is a great place to experience the camaraderie and community of this student support group. For additional information, contact the organization’s advisor by calling (315) 267-3398.

Accommodative Services

SUNY Potsdam is committed to the full inclusion of all students who can benefit from educational opportunities. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the College endeavors to make reasonable adjustments in its policies, practices, services, and facilities to ensure equal opportunity for qualified students with disabilities to participate in all educational programs, services, and activities. The College will also strive to ensure that a person with a disability who is otherwise qualified will not, on the basis of that disability, be denied full and equal access to and enjoyment of academic and co-curricular programs or activities or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under programs or activities offered by the College.

The Office of Accommodative Services (OAS) provides academic accommodations for all qualified students who have documented learning, emotional, and/or physical disabilities and have need for accommodations. Accommodations can include such services as note takers, text readers, alternative testing arrangements or loan of some equipment.

A student with a disability requiring reasonable academic accommodations should make the specific request for such assistance to OAS. It is the responsibility of the student to identify themselves as having a disability and to inform OAS that an accommodation is necessary. The student must submit written documentation of the disability and the need for accommodations from an appropriate authority. Accommodations will be determined on an individual basis.

OAS will assist students requesting non-academic auxiliary aids or services in locating the appropriate campus offices to address the requests. Personal care needs are the responsibility of the student.

For additional information on Accommodative Services, please call (315) 267-3267 or stop by Sisson 111.

Student and Family Transitions/Orientation

The Office of Student and Family Transitions is responsible for organizing orientation for all first-year and transfer students as well as supporting students through the First-Year Success Seminar (FYSS).


Orientation is one of the most significant activities for new students and seeks to welcome students to the Potsdam community as they prepare to start their first semester. The orientation program accomplishes a number of critical functions:

  1. Provides students with a welcoming atmosphere in which to become comfortable with the campus and to meet and interact with their fellow students.
  2. Offers students the opportunity to register for classes with an academic advisor.
  3. Enables students to learn about the policies and procedures of the College.
  4. Connects students with the wide range of services and resources designed to support their transition to college and success in their first year.

In addition to the orientation program, each new student will be connected to a mentor to help guide them through the process of getting ready to arrive on campus.  The mentor will work with students throughout the summer months to assist in the completion of the various steps to complete required tasks prior to the start of their first semester at Potsdam.

First-Year Success Seminar

The First Year Success Seminar (FYSS) is a popular two-credit course designed to support new students with their transition to SUNY Potsdam. FYSS provides the opportunity to become integrated into the academic life of the campus by exploring campus programs, services, and technologies. Together, these experiences provide students with the structure and support needed to develop their own academic skills and learning strategies necessary to be successful at SUNY Potsdam.

Family Programs

The mission of Family Programs is to partner parents and family members with the College to create a better understanding of the college experience and the growth of our students. The office provides an annual Family Weekend program in the fall. For more information, contact the Office of Student and Family Transitions at (315) 267-2580.

Military and Veterans’ Student Services

The Office of Military and Veterans’ Student Services provides the following services to assist military service personnel, military family members, and veterans, including: advising and advocating on behalf of our Veteran and military service members and family member students; conducting veteran student orientation; and serving as SUNY Potsdam’s designated School Certifying Official for veteran benefits.

This office serves over 100 students each semester. For additional information, please contact the Office of Military and Veterans’ Student Services at (315) 267-3398. The Veteran Services representative is located in 128 Sisson Hall.

SUNY Potsdam and the Student Success Center are proud supporters of our Veteran, Military and Family member students.  SUNY Potsdam has consistently received Annual Military Friendly Awards and other accolades. The Student Success Center provides a dedicated full-service advisor for those who have served or are serving our nation and their families.  To explore your possible benefits under the Veterans Administration you can visit the VA GI Bill website for further explanations, forms and benefits.


Veterans and military service members, their families, and any registered student can also join VALOR (Veteran and Adult Learner Organization). This student run SGA sanctioned club is created to support and add a level of inclusion to our University in support of this group and community’s needs. VALOR meets regularly during each semester.  As a member you are not required to attend, but it is a great place to experience the camaraderie and community of this student support group. For additional information, contact the organization’s advisor by calling (315) 267-3398.

Group Tutoring & Academic Support

The Student Success Center provides a variety of academic support services for all students. Small group and walk-in peer content tutoring is available in many courses. General study skills assistance is available through individual appointments. We can assist students with goal setting, time management, organization, note-taking, exam preparation, test-taking, and other key skills. Workshops and presentations are available upon request. A small bank of computers and a printer are available for general use in the Academic Support Lab, Sisson 106. Laptops are available to students on a weekly loan basis. For more information, email us at tutoring@potsdam.edu.

Special Programs


The Bridges Program at SUNY Potsdam is a one-year, transition program for talented students who are not academically eligible for regular admission. Bridges provides support services to enhance first-year academic success. The transitional program includes academic advising, life coaching, mentoring, supplemental instruction, and course registration. Other services such as group content tutoring and learning skills workshops are provided through the Student Success Center. All Bridges students sign a learning contract that specifies program requirements.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

EOP serves talented students who are not academically eligible for general admission but meet specific economic eligibility criteria. Program services include counseling, supplemental instruction, workshops, EOP Direct Aid, an extended fall orientation program, EOP-specific Freshmen Interest Groups (FIGs), special intersession academic programs, and a freshman seminar. For additional information please call (315) 267-2335 or visit www.potsdam.edu/admissions/apply/special/EOP/index.cfm.

TRiO Student Support Services

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded program designed to enhance academic skills and increase retention and graduation rates of eligible students. Services include peer tutoring, academic planning, academic monitoring, study skills assistance, financial literacy/planning, graduate school planning, counseling, cultural activities and peer mentoring. Through coordination with other campus offices, the program also assists participants with career planning and financial aid counseling.

Eligible students:

Are U.S. citizens or permanent residents;

Are first-generation college students and/or meet certain family income guidelines and/or have a documented learning or physical disability, as well as;

Have a demonstrated academic need for services.

Special note: Students with disabilities who require classroom accommodations should apply for them through the Office of Accommodative Services.

For more information, visit www.potsdam.edu/trio or contact the TRIO Office at (315) 267-2347, or email trio@potsdam.edu.