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Columbus State hires first AVP to lead student success and retention efforts - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

Columbus State hires first AVP to lead student success and retention efforts

June 27, 2024

Headshot of Melissa Young

To help lead Columbus State University’s prioritization of student achievement and retention, Dr. Melissa Young has been named the university’s inaugural assistant vice president for student success.  

Currently the director of CSU’s advising operations, Young will assume her new role on July 1. In this capacity, she will oversee the university’s primary student success priorities and lead academic advising, career development, First-Year Experience, tutoring and the university’s Quality Enhancement Project, or QEP. 

“Dr. Melissa Young has been advancing student success initiatives her whole career at Columbus State, and this new role will allow her to focus entirely on keeping students enrolled, engaged and on track to graduate,” said Dr. Pat McHenry, interim provost & executive vice president. “She is extremely capable, and I am delighted and grateful that she is willing to take on this new position.”  

One of Young’s first tasks will be to help implement Columbus State’s “playbook” from the National Institute for Student Success (NISS) at Georgia State University. The report provides a data-based analysis of CSU’s current processes and outlines tools the university can use to better achieve success for all its students. 

“From my own higher education journey, my experience and also my research, I understand well the challenges today’s students face,” Young said. “With the preparation that Columbus State has done over the last several months, we are now uniquely positioned to make great strides in retaining our current students and helping them achieve their dreams of a college degree and a successful career.” 

Since 2018, she has led or helped lead CSU Advise, the university’s centralized advising office that provides proactive services to more than 4,000 undergraduate students. Her leadership has been instrumental in aligning advising strategies with university goals and initiatives such as Complete College Georgia and the Momentum Approach.  She also has served as academic advisor and transfer counselor at CSU. 

Prior to joining Columbus State, Young was a program coordinator at Chaminade University of Honolulu and a middle school special education instructor.  

She earned her doctor of education degree in curriculum and leadership in higher education administration from Columbus State in 2021. She also holds a master of education and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Chaminade University of Honolulu. 

Media contact: Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729,