TRIO Student Support Services


Harding University's Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded program designed to promote retention and academic success in college. SSS provides participants with academic and support services in a caring environment that seeks to ensure their successful completion of a degree at Harding University.


Discussing your needs and goals with someone helps you better understand what they are. Student Support Services has counselors with experience in academic advising, goal setting, choosing a major and career planning. A licensed counselor is also available to help you with personal concerns, such as relationships, financial planning, personal resource management, etc.

We offer assistance and counseling for...

  • Personal Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Career Planning and Development
  • Learning Styles Determination
  • Study Skills Assessment
  • Academic Advising
  • Obtaining Financial Aid & Guidance
  • Personal Counseling
  • Academic Assistance Career & Major Development
  • Cultural Enrichment Opportunities
  • Disability Accommodations

Upon your decision to take part in Student Support Services, you will meet with an academic counselor concerning your specific needs. 

More About Us

Harding University's TRIO Student Support Services is a five year federally (Dept. of Ed.) funded program serving 275 participants with yearly federal funding of $366,385. Harding University's SSS has been improving retention, graduation and academic achievement among disadvantaged students for nearly two decades.

Our program includes all of the activities required by TRIO, including

  • Academic tutoring, directly and through other services
  • Advice and assistance in postsecondary course selection and appropriate degree selection
  • Activities designed to assist participants in applying for admission to, and obtaining financial assistance for enrollment in graduate and professional programs
  • Information on both the full range of Federal student financial aid programs and benefits and assistance in completing financial aid applications including FAFSA
  • Counseling designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students including financial planning for postsecondary educational aid
  • Personal Professional Counseling for qualified participants

Our program also offers participants services that are permitted but not required. These features include personal, career and academic counseling, counseling related to career options, exposure to cultural events and mentoring involving upper level students.

Our program is comprehensive and holistic in its approach to meeting student needs. We offer instructional and emotional support to participants through a freshman year experience organized around a supplemental instructional model that's tied to essential 'gateway' courses. By clustering students in these courses, we create small communities of peers who can offer one another support and who are nurtured by staff and tutors. Participants are strengthened both individually and in groups during enrichment activities designed to build their confidence, provide cultural education, motivate and inform them to achieve their best and support one another. Our staff members are highly trained professionals who focus exclusively on project participants and work together to meet their needs. Our tutors are professionally trained as well in best practices of one-to-one peer instruction. The project is a highly valued and visible part of the campus community, and has met and surpassed most project goals for each cycle. We desire to continue this track record in response to the new standardized objectives and to use thorough evaluations to guide our development over the next five years.

FY 2010-2015 Funding Amount: $366,385/yr.Grant Aid Amount: $25,000 
Program Objectives based on Department of Education regulations
Persistent Rate:75%% of all participants served by the SSS project will persist from one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year or graduate and/or transfer from a 2-year to a 4-year institution during the academic year.
Good Academic Standing Rate:87%% of all enrolled participants served by the SSS project will meet the performance level required to stay in good academic standing at the grantee institution.
4 Year Graduation Rate:53%% of new participants served each year will graduate within six (6) years.


Sometimes it helps to be able to lean on a peer for support through difficult classes. Upper-class students serve as peer tutors in this fully accredited tutorial program. Tutoring is free of charge to any student enrolled in the program.

SSS Tutoring Schedule

Located in back hallway of Lee Bldg., rooms 112-117

Monday - Friday by appointment see Dr. Anissa Harris, Lee 124

Office hours: Mon. - Fri., 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. hours posted.

Easy Access/Disability Services

Access to the facilities is made easy for the physically impaired. Counseling, computers, test accommodations, and special software are readily accessible to students with disabilities on a limited basis. A Disabilities Services Coordinator will help students who need academic accommodations to arrange for special testing or other accommodations as needed.

To help complete the picture, we seek to accommodate students with physical and learning disabilities through these grant-allowable services. Other accommodations come through the university's disability office. For more information concerning disabilities, please contact Disability Services at 501-279-4019. 

The Short Ropes Course

The course consists of activities on a special outdoor obstacle course.

Low Elements
Using various apparatus and equipment to pose problems for the group to overcome, leading to team-building and intentional problem-solving challenges.

Cultural Enrichment

The value of balance is conveyed to the students involved in Student Support Services, especially in the trips we take.

In previous years, we have been to...

  • Opera--"Madame Butterfly" in Memphis
  • Exhibits--"Catherine the Great" in Memphis
  • Musical Theater--"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" at Murray's Dinner Playhouse in Little Rock
  • Stage Production--"Wicked" in Little Rock
  • Stage Production--"The Aluminum Show" in Little Rock
  • Ozark Folk Festival in Mountain View, Arkansas

These trips are designed to enhance the student's exposure to the arts which, in turn, provides an integral resource for communication as well as inspiring self-worth through value-added experiences.

Peer Mentoring/CAPs

Let students who have already experienced freshman insecurity take you under their wing and help you through your first one or two semesters. These students, called "Coaches," in the "Coaches and Players" (CAPs) program meet regularly with you, the "Player," to answer your questions about anything from social clubs to time management to how to study for a test. Your Coach will help you formulate your "game plan" (study schedule) so you will score the most points (on tests and assignments) and win the College Game!

Financial Aid

TRIO Student Support Services at Harding University is proud to offer information about financial literacy for all of our students. Each year of the 5-year grant cycle, TRIO SSS can award and distribute a total of $25,000 in grant-aid to participating, eligible program participants. Below you will find out more information concerning these two parts of our program.

Financial Literacy

Being financially literate is very important for students as well as graduates. We have made available to all of our students workshops, online modules and links to other important websites that cover a wide variety of topics.

Grant Aid

Each year of the 5-year grant cycle, TRIO SSS can award and distribute a total of $25,000 in grant-aid to eligible program participants. In order to be eligible, you must meet the following basic federal requirements:

  • Be receiving a Pell Grant at the time an award is funded
  • Not be over-funded according to federal guidelines
  • Be actively participating in the TRIO SSS program at appropriate participation point levels

In order to receive the funding, you MUST participate in the TRIO SSS program each semester. Grant-aid will be awarded each semester. The SSS grant-aid is NOT an ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM. Students will be selected based on their use of SSS services. There is a minimum number of accumulated points required each semester to be considered to receive funding.  Awards will be distributed based on participation in the program, timely submission of point sheets and appropriate academic endeavors toward success. Students will be selected for aid based on their participation in TRIO SSS Services. A list will be made of eligible participants and it will be ranked by points earned and final determination will be made by Dr. Johnston and Dr. White. According to federal regulations, 1st and 2nd year students are considered first.

Some of the activities on the point sheet are required, such as:

  • Financial Literacy Training
  • Career Services Survey
  • CAPSOL Learning Styles Inventory
  • Tutoring Assistance - 200 points minimum (revised from last year)
  • Mentoring and Counseling


You are qualified if:

  • First-Generation: you are a first-generation student in college (which means neither parent graduated with a four-year college degree)
  • Low-Income: you meet "low-income" standards according to federal guidelines (if you're eligible for Pell, you're probably eligible for SSS)
  • Disabled: you have a learning disability for which you need academic accommodation. Keep in mind that only one-third of participants can be disabled and one-third of those must have low-income status as well.

In addition, you must:

  • be a citizen or national of the United States (possession of a permanent Visa/green card counts)
  • possess the potential and motivation for college success

Meet our Staff

Jim Johnston

Jim Johnston, Ed.D.

The director of TRIO Student Support Services since January 2004, "Dr. J" holds the doctorate of education from Vanderbilt University. He has 21 years of experience in instruction, 12 in inner-city school districts, and more than eight years in Harding’s College of Education. Because he began his higher education as a first-generation, low-income student, he understands the challenges disadvantaged students face. His professional experience includes working with grant projects and educational programs, which involve mentoring, tutoring, community outreach, and techniques that enhance the success of at-risk students. He is married to Kathy, a fifth-grade reading teacher in the Arkansas public school system. They have raised four children and are also grandparents. Dr. J. has sponsored Omega Sigma men's social club, presently serves as faculty sponsor for King’s Men social club, and served as president-elect and president of the Arkansas Tutoring Association.

Teresa McLeod

Teresa McLeod, M.Ed.
Disabilities Specialist/Counselor

Teresa has a master's degree in special education from the University of Memphis and more than 20 years of experience as an educator, teaching from preschool to the college level. "Mother" Teresa - as we call her - serves as liaison between our students with disabilities and faculty/administrators. She is a member of the Arkansas Association on Higher Education and Disabilities, is active in the community, and conducts various seminars. Teresa and her husband, Randy, a professor in Harding's College of Business Administration, have five grown children and three grandchildren.   Teresa loves to help students with disabilities access their whole potentials on our campus!

Anissa Harris

Anissa Harris, Ed.D.
Instructional Resource/Tutor Coordinator

Dr. Harris earned her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She also holds an M.Ed. in Communication and a B.A. in English and Spanish from Harding University. She has been an educator for 19 years, with experience in the public school system, collegiate research centers, online doctoral instruction, and other student success programs. She is responsible for coordinating student academic needs with SSS resources and also facilitating the freshmen Learning Community. She sponsors Shantih women's social club on campus and supports the university soccer teams. Her husband is Dr. Greg Harris, Harding's head soccer coach; they have two children, Kadyn and Kaynan.

J David White

J David White, Ph.D., LPC
Behavioral Counselor

David is the behavioral counselor for SSS. He graduated from Harding University with a B.A. in vocal performance and then a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. David works one-on-one with students, assisting with stress management, adjustments to college, self-motivation, educational skills, academic advising and other issues that affect personal and mental wellness. He also strives to involve students in campus life to create personal accountability and community. David has his Ph.D. in human services with a specialization in counseling studies and is a licensed professional counselor recognized by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. He lives in Searcy with his wife, Katy, and son, Gabriel.


Contact Us

Fax: 501- 279-4217

Mailing address:
Harding University
Student Support Services
Box 12268
Searcy, AR 72149-5615