While the transition to a temporary home may present some challenges in the short term, the staff at the Academic Resource Center (ARC) is looking forward to using the upcoming renovation and expansion of the Student Center complex as an opportunity to better serve Saint Anselm College students this year and beyond.
The ARC will temporarily relocate to two modular units in the parking lot of Holy Cross Hall in October, making way for construction on the Student Center complex to begin later this fall. The plans show that the ARC's temporary home will include staff offices, a reception area, and the Writing Center, as well as spaces for peer tutoring and exam proctoring.
Although many offices have already relocated from Cushing, the traffic in the ARC has only increased. The center has averaged between 30-40 tutorials per day since the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year. That number does not include the many students who consider the ARC their favorite study space.
John “JJ” Courtney ’17, the ARC’s Tutor Fellow, does not anticipate that the construction of the new student center will negatively impact the work the ARC does for the student body.
“My hope for the year is that students still utilize all of the ARC’s resources,” says Courtney. “Just because we are relocated does not mean we cannot provide the same amount of help.”
Indeed, the ARC will continue to provide all of its services after the move. To reinforce this opportunity, the center has launched new proactive and innovative features to enhance the Peer Tutor Program and the Writing Center.
In the past two years, the Peer Tutor Program has grown immensely under the direction of Assistant Director Ben Horton ‘12, who joined the staff in 2014. Recently, Ann-Maria Contarino was named the new coordinator of the Writing Center and has plans to expand the love of writing by introducing different forums across campus.
“I think the area in which the ARC has improved the most is through the Peer Tutor Program,” says Courtney. “Ben Horton does an incredible job. With around 80 active tutors, the program covers nearly every course the school offers. It is an ever-growing program that I see expanding in the future.”
A new feature of the Peer Tutor Program is “satellite tutoring,” where tutors and writing assistants have scheduled shifts in underclassmen residence halls. The ARC hopes that satellite tutoring will further integrate academic resources on campus, reaching and assisting more students than years past.
“If a student walks into Dominic Hall, the ARC’s presence is a visible reminder to students of the center and the services it provides,” says Horton.
This month, the ARC launches its Academic Success Workshop Series. These workshops help students acclimate to the challenges of the new school year, or in the case of first-year students, provides an introduction to college-level academics.
This month’s series features subject-based topics such as “How to Read Philosophy” as well as student-based topics such as “Increasing Your Academic Output,” “Success On and Off the Field: Reaching Your Potential as a Collegiate Athlete,” and “Test Anxiety Workshop.” The ARC will continue to facilitate these workshops throughout the year.
To enhance the one-on-one tutoring experience, the ARC has purchased new materials to aid its student staff. Tutors can utilize molecular model sets, white boards, and calculators, giving Saint Anselm students access to hands-on and visual learning aids.
The ARC also offers learning communities in addition to one-on-one tutoring. Learning communities are group tutor sessions for subjects with heavy tutoring concentrations. “We began by targeting courses that employed many of our peer tutors," says Horton. "We reached out to professors and tutors and began to develop the idea of how this group dynamic would work.” This semester’s learning communities include Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, Calculus I, and French. The ARC has plans to implement more throughout the year.
As for the future, the ARC strives to continue their mission: to serve students by meeting them where they are. Director Kenn Walker hopes to continue the trend of increased faculty engagement, improving communication with academic departments and administration to provide Saint Anselm students the assistance they need.