Philanthropic gift helps ASU psychology launch new center that supports student successes in data analysis and writing


Robert Ewing

The combination of “data” and “statistics” might not sound exciting, but careers relying on data and statistics are projected to grow by 30 percent through 2024. Moreover, the National Association of Colleges and Employers identifies oral and written skills as core competencies for college graduates and as pivotal for future employment.

To equip students with the skills they will need to handle data and communicate effectively, the Arizona State University Department of Psychology launched the new Student Success Center (SSC). The center provides students enrolled in the foundational courses (PSY 101, 230, 290) and upper-division psychology courses with individualized coaching to improve both their data analysis/interpretation skills and their writing.

“Being able to collect and analyze data and being able to communicate ideas effectively are critical not only for success in psychological science, but also for success in most careers. If we are to be invested in our students — which we are — we need to invest in helping them develop these skills,” said Steven Neuberg, Foundation Professor of Psychology and chair of the department.

The SSC is supported by the Robert B. Cialdini Leap Forward Fund. The fund allows the psychology department to take innovative risks, like the SSC, that would not otherwise be possible.

The goal of the center is to prepare undergraduate psychology students for success in academics and well beyond. Student success coaches, who have excelled in the courses they are helping with, will staff the center. The center will also offer workshops led by faculty, graduate students and other undergraduate students on topics like mindfulness, building a resume and coping with stress.

"The Student Success Center is unlike other options at ASU because our coaches are advanced psychology students. They have taken the classes, have mastered the content and understand how statistical and writing techniques should be applied in psychology courses," said Whitney Hansen, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology and supervisor of the SSC.

Appointments are available 40 hours per week, in the psychology advising office or in virtual classrooms during the evenings and weekends.

“We aim to provide the resources that students need in this changing educational environment, outside of the classroom and discussion sections,” said Dawn Phelps, assistant director of academic services for the psychology department.