Lon Owen, a long-time professor of biological sciences at Northern Arizona University, has been appointed as the first director of Class Linked Academic Support, a new program that is part of the university’s efforts to increase student success and retention.

The program offers peer assistance to undergraduates in courses that have proved difficult for students in the past.

Class Linked Academic Support, a key component of NAU’s strategic initiatives for increasing student success, is a collaboration between Undergraduate Studies and Educational Support Programs. As director, Owen will lead efforts to expand supplemental instruction and develop other forms of academic support for students in key lower-division courses.

“I’m looking forward to working in this capacity with my colleagues at NAU who I know to be committed to increasing student success,” Owen said. “Because of that commitment, more students will become better educated and be proud to graduate from NAU and become contributing citizens of the world.”

Owen has been an NAU faculty member for more than 30 years. He teaches pathophysiology, physiology and other areas of human biology with research in cardiovascular physiology has centered on thermoregulation and circulation. Owen served as director of the Biological Sciences Advising Center and has been recognized for his commitment to undergraduate education.

Lower-division courses in four colleges will have supplemental instruction this spring. A small number of selected courses, primarily in sciences and engineering, have had grant-funded supplemental instruction programs for a number of years.

Future support will target courses in areas where supplemental instruction is not a fitting approach. Owen will collaborate with faculty and academic leaders to design alternative strategies for increasing student success those areas.