Left to right: Acting Dean Kate Mamiseishvili, Matthew Ganio, Sylvia Hack Boyer, Tommy Boyer, Elizabeth McKinley, Erica Langley, Denise Bignar, Corey Johnson, Cindy Folsom and Katie Winkler.
The Sylvia Hack Boyer Center for Student Services recently received a special visit from its namesake.
Sylvia Hack Boyer and her husband, Tommy Boyer, recently visited the Counseling Center to learn about the program’s move to the Cordia Harrington Center of Excellence on campus, meet with counselors and tour the space.
The center offers counseling and coordinates all student success initiatives and services for undergraduate students in the College of Education and Health Professions. It was established in 1994 through a generous gift from the Boyers as a full service center for counseling, career guidance and support for undergraduate students in the care professions.
Syliva Hack Boyer was thrilled to see the expanded space and learn more about what the college counseling team is doing to help students. “We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to all of the staff working with the Boyer Center for Student Services,” she said. “During the visit, we were amazed to learn that the center now has a dedicated and talented staff of 20 serving our College of Education and Health Professions students. At its inception, we were housed in a small wing at Peabody Hall.
“Our gratitude goes to the excellent group of professionals who are the cornerstone of the Sylvia Hack Boyer Center for Student Services.”
Syliva Hack Boyer, a native of Alton, Illinois, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the U of A in 1963. She taught at public schools in Fayetteville and Amarillo, Texas, and was an instructor at West Texas State University at Canyon. , Texas.
At U of A, Boyer was a founding member of the Old Main Society, the Chancellor’s Society, a member of the Razorback Foundation, and the National Development Council. She was president of the Arkansas Alumni Association in 1997-98 and chair of the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House Renovation Project and Campaign.
Their daughter Melissa Boyer, BSE’90, BSBA’91, is also a U of A graduate.
The Boyers have established seven on-campus scholarships from the Alumni Association, the Razorback Foundation, the School of Law, and the Colleges of Commerce and Education and Health Professions. They were casting gold limbs from the towers of Old Main. The university honored them as Volunteers of the Year in 1992, and they received the Distinguished Service Award from the Arkansas Alumni Association in 1999.
In 1989, the Boyers established reciprocal scholarships for each other as 25th wedding anniversary gifts. Sylvia Hack Boyer established the Thomas E. Boyer Scholarship at the College of Business, and her husband established the Sylvia Hack Boyer Scholarship at the College of Education and Health Professions as a gift for her. In 2022, 52 students received the scholarship. Wendy Orellana is this year’s recipient.
Helping Students Succeed
Total undergraduate enrollment at the College of Education and Health Professions so far this fall is 4,866. Boyer Center counselors have met with thousands of students in person, virtually or during walk-in meetings.
The center has also expanded its student success initiatives, including extended help desk hours and application workshops for competitive entry programs. In January 2022, the college’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program partnered with the center to provide outreach services to first-year students on school probation. Ashlyn Elliott and Sarah Arenas, two PhD students, provided one-on-one services to help with goal setting and other skills students needed to succeed academically. As a result of this experience, the two graduate students continued to research and develop resources to help not only students on academic probation, but any COEHP undergraduate student. The Redefining Academic Performance program, piloted by Elliott and Arenas this fall, helps students identify and develop learning strategies, develop skills that enable them to achieve academic success, and create habits and balanced routines.
The Boyer Center is one of the first student success centers to use occupational therapy outside of disability services. “Advisors have been great to work with,” Arenas said. “Communicating, being and working with Assistant Dean Elizabeth McKinley and the Boyer Center for almost a year has given us the opportunity to work with the team to complement the services offered.
Sherry Muir, Founding President and Director of the Occupational Therapy Program, said, “The Boyer Center has provided our students with multiple incredible learning opportunities, including the current pilot projects of two doctoral students studying how their unique knowledge and skills in occupational therapy can contribute to the success and retention of U of A undergraduate and online students. We are grateful to Ms. Boyer and all center staff for their support.
While at CORD, students have various opportunities to seek support. In addition to tutoring services, students have access to a writing studio for assistance with course materials, scholarship essays, and academic assignments; a career studio where they can receive CV and cover letter review, interview advice and mock interviews; and academic peer coaching to help with exam preparation or note-taking strategies.
College students also have access to the 360 program, which offers a holistic approach to supporting students academically, socially, financially and through wellbeing.
“Our team of advisors and specialists help students navigate their college experience, supporting them through graduation,” said Elizabeth McKinley, associate dean for student counseling and success. “The team also helps with planning and post-graduation success.”