The Academic Support Center, formally known at the Success Connection, has been hidden in plain sight since its creation in the 1990s. With the name change and revision of services offered, staff in the Center went to extra lengths this semester to make their presence known on campus.
For the first four weeks of class this fall, the ASC offered incentives to students to not only find their way to the Center but to use their services.
“We know students can always find free food, so having the First Financial concession brought in to serve free hot dogs during Welcome Week was a big draw to our location,” said Beverly Gibbs, Coordinator of Instructional Support. “It's always been hard to find us because we are on the lower level of the campus while all classes are on the main level. A common complaint is that students can't find us. They found the free lunch and discovered our location at the same time.”
The Academic Support Center, located on the lower level of the Liberal Arts Building, continued their efforts over the next few weeks offering popcorn, a concession wagon and free breakfast. They plan to wrap up their promotional efforts at the end of September with a drawing for an HP laptop and accessories donated by the WC Bookstore. Students were entered to win based on the number of hours they spent studying in the ASC.
But why did the Success Connection morph into the Academic Support Center?
“We thought a change was necessary because we were viewed primarily as a developmental lab and we are so much more than that,” Gibbs said. “We tutor all levels of math, A&P, chemistry, physics, Spanish and more. In addition, we help students in any way we can in their academic endeavors, thus the name Academic Support Center better describes what we do. We support our students.”
At first, the name change included “tutoring” rather than “support,” but student feedback was negative.
“We were shocked the word had a bad feel and quickly looked for something more appealing and came up with Academic Support Center,” Gibbs said. “We call our tutors ‘academic coaches.’”
Services in the Center have also expanded with the new name. Previously, the area was primarily used as a drop-in tutoring facility with only a few specialized groups. Students can now schedule 30-minute sessions with the academic coach who best fits their needs and they can access 24-hour online tutoring via tutor.com. Also, the layout of the room has changed to create a more relaxed environment.
The changes have yielded positive results so far. Due to the increase in student use of the ASC, additional academic coaches have been added and the Center is looking for more.
“We are excited to see more students using our services,” Gibbs said. “It feels good to walk into the center and see it full of students engaged in learning.”